In Ontario, licensed paralegals are authorized to act as representatives in any and all matters falling within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court.
Actions brought in what is called the Small Claims Court occur in the Superior Court of Justice. Accordingly, what is known as the Small Claims Court is actually somewhat of a misnomer. It is perhaps better to think of the Small Claims Court as a civil litigation court department assigned to handle a subset of cases involving claims for compensation up to $25,000 per Plaintiff plus legal costs and interest. Another difference is that cases brought in the Small Claims Court are usually heard by Deputy Judges. The Deputy Judges are lawyers with at least ten years experience who are appointed to act as part-time judges in the Small Claims Court. Still another key difference is that Small Claims Court cases are conducted in accordance to Rules of the Small Claims Court which are a trimmed down set of procedural rules that help ensure small claims cases progress expeditiously from beginning to end.
Although the Small Claims Court only handles the smaller claims brought to litigation, these lawsuits are still treated as very important - money matters are never truly 'small'. We also recognize that these claims can, and sometimes do, involve the same complex issues litigated in the unlimited court, regardless of the amount of the claim.
Actions that may be heard by the Small Claims Court include, among other things:
1. Breaches of Contract
- The failure to pay back a loan when due;
- The failure to properly perform hired services;
- The failure to deliver goods in accordance to terms of verbal or written agreements;
- The denial of coverage under an insurance policy;
- The wrongful dismissal from employment without just cause, termination pay, or pay in lieu of notice.
2. Tortious Conduct
- The personal injuries that occur due to negligent accidents caused by carelessness such as a 'slip & fall';
- The intentional or reckless conduct of harassing bill collectors, or privacy intruding neighbours;
- The disputes between neighbours involving damage to property caused by pets or tree cutting;
- The harm to personal and professional reputation arising from defamatory comments; and
- The return of property wrongfully confiscated, withheld, taken, or converted.
So, whether you are a Plaintiff looking to collect a bad debt or a Defendant accused of negligent or other wrongful conduct, help may be available in advocating for your position and in resolutely pursuing your legal rights!
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