Small Claims court has a jurisdiction of up to $25,000. This does not include court costs or interest. There is no recovery of legal fees in Small Claims court. You will likely recover your out of pocket expenses if you are successful. These would include you filing fee and service fees.
Small Claims actions generally follow these steps:
2. The defendant files a Reply. Those filing a Reply should read “Replying to a Claim”
3. The claimant and defendant may attend a mediation. A mediation is not always required. The claimant and defendant should read “Court Mediation Program for claims up to $10,000” or “Court Mediation Program for claims between $10,000 and $25,000“.
4. The claimant and defendant attend a settlement conference. The Claimant and Defendant should read “Getting Ready for Court” before the settlement conference.
5. The claimant and defendant attend a trial. The Claimant and Defendant should read “Getting Ready for Court” again before the trial.
6. The claimant must enforce their judgment if it is not paid. The guide “Getting Results” explains the most common enforcement procedures to collect money owed under a judgment.
Obviously, each step is not necessary. If the defendant does not file a Reply the Claimant may apply for default judgment and proceed to step 6. The guide “What Is Small Claims Court?” provides a more detailed list of the steps but omits the mediation which is now required in most registries.
Keep in mind the following points:
- The registry mails out the notice of mediation, notice of settlement conference and notice of trial to the last address they have for each party. Keep your address up to date.
- If you can’t make a date because of some other commitment, make an application to registrar as soon as possible.
- At the trial, you should have witnesses (not just written statements) so the other side may ask questions of your witnesses.
- The guides referred to above as well as the Fees and Forms available at a Small Claims registry and at the Attorney General’s website.