Ontario Superior Court of Justice Trials

Small Claims Court Overview & Useful Links

Small Claims Court has jurisdiction to award a maximum of $35,000.00 (as of January 1, 2020). Below is a brief outline of the main steps in a typical claim, which can be summarised as follows:

  1. Pleadings (claim and defence)
  2. Settlement Conference
  3. Trial

Pleadings and Documents – The plaintiff sets out its claim and version of the facts in a plaintiff’s claim and attaches all plaintiff documents. The defendant sets out its version of the facts in a defence and attaches all defendant documents.  There is an opportunity for the defendant to counterclaim or claim against a third party.

Witnesses – After the defence is filed, the Court schedules a settlement conference.  At least 14 days before the settlement conference, the parties must provide a list of witnesses.

Settlement Conference – Settlement can occur at any stage. Making an offer is good strategy.  The settlement conference is before a Deputy Judge in order to canvas settlement. If settlement is not reached, trial issues are addressed and the case can proceed to trial.

Trial – At trial, the parties get to present their version of the facts through witness testimony and exhibits. There is an opportunity to cross-examine the other party’s witnesses. The law of evidence is somewhat relaxed in Small Claims Court. Factual and legal submissions are made in opening and closing statements.

Judgment – The successful party is awarded a judgment. If the plaintiff is awarded a sum of money, it is their responsibility to collect it. The successful party is usually awarded costs, but in Small Claims Court costs are limited.

Useful Small Claims Court Links


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