Small Claims Court

Navigating the Small Claims Court

Navigating Small Claims Court in Ontario

Are you facing a legal dispute in Ontario that involves a relatively small amount of money or property? Small Claims Court might be the solution you need. This court deals with civil disputes of $35,000 or less, providing a simpler and more cost-effective alternative to traditional court proceedings.

Understanding Small Claims Court

In Ontario, the Small Claims Court operates under specific rules outlined in the Rules of the Small Claims Court. These rules govern various aspects of the court process, from initiating a claim to enforcing a judgment. View the Rules of the Small Claims Court. The court is an arm of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

About the Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Paralegal services, criminal law, small claims court, traffic ticketsThe Superior Court of Justice has jurisdiction over a wide range of civil matters, including personal injury claims, contract disputes, estate matters, and commercial litigation. The Court also hears criminal cases involving serious offences, as well as appeals from decisions of lower courts and administrative tribunals. In family law matters, the Superior Court of Justice has jurisdiction over divorce, custody, access, child and spousal support, and property division. The Family Court branch of the Superior Court specifically deals with family law cases and operates in 17 locations across the province. The Divisional Court is a branch of the Superior Court that hears appeals from decisions of administrative tribunals, as well as certain civil and family law matters. The Small Claims Court branch of the Superior Court deals with civil claims of up to $35,000. Overall, the Superior Court of Justice plays a crucial role in the administration of justice in Ontario, ensuring that individuals have access to a fair and impartial legal system to resolve their disputes and uphold their rights.

Initiating a Claim

The process begins by filing a Plaintiff's Claim form with the court. This form outlines details of the claim, including the amount sought and the reasons behind it. Once filed, the claim must be served on the defendant within a specified timeframe, typically within six months.

Defending Against a Claim

If you've been served with a Plaintiff's Claim, you have the opportunity to respond by filing a Defence. This document outlines your position regarding the claim and any counterclaims you may have. It's essential to adhere to the timelines set out by the court to avoid default judgment.

Navigating the Process

Navigating the Small Claims Court process can be daunting, especially if you're unfamiliar with legal procedures. Seeking assistance from legal professionals or process servers in Ontario can streamline the process and ensure compliance with court rules. Learn more about the role of process servers.

Key Considerations

Understanding the intricacies of Small Claims Court rules and procedures is crucial for a successful outcome. It's essential to:

  • Adhere to Timelines: Timely filing of documents and responses is critical to avoiding procedural setbacks.
  • Seek Legal Guidance: Legal professionals can provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the process.
  • Document Preparation: Ensuring all documents are accurately completed and filed according to court requirements is essential.


Navigating Small Claims Court in Ontario requires careful attention to detail and adherence to court rules and procedures. By understanding the process and seeking appropriate assistance when needed, you can effectively navigate the legal system and achieve a favorable outcome in your dispute.

The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.
Milton Friedman, From Created Equal, an episode of the PBS Free to Choose television series (1980, vol. 5 transcript)