Getting served with a Statement of Claim in Toronto is a serious issue that requires the expertise of a lawyer. If you’ve received a statement of claim, it means someone has sued you, which makes you the defendant in the case.
As a defendant, the first thing you need to do is get a good lawyer to help you through the court proceedings as fast as possible because there is a deadline for a response from the defendant. Without a lawyer, there is every chance that you may result in a default, lose the case, and have to pay the Plaintiff.
However, with a lawyer, you can file a defence, collect the required evidence to win the case, and, possibly, get paid by the Plaintiff.
Serving a Statement of Claim
What is a Statement of Claim?
Simply put, a statement of claim is a court-issued-document that contains summary of a plaintiff’s statement against a defendant. It an n overview of all the evidence supporting the plaintiff’s claim against another person. When you file your statement of claim with a local court, it will be served on the defendant.
This means that your case with the defendant is incorporated into the court’s system and listed as “hearing”.
Characteristics of a statement of claim
A typical statement of claim contains the following:
- Have a court number
- Court stamp
- Parties involved in the case (Plaintiff and Defendant’s name)
- Clearly highlights the details of the Claim
- Date it was filed
- Court where it was filed
- Information of who prepared the statement of claim
- The intent of the legal action against the defendant
When a statement of claim is served on a defendant(s), they have twenty days (20) to respond to the claim from the date the service of process was carried out
What is a statement of claim Ontario?
A Statement of Claim Ontario is a court document issued by the Ontario superior court of justice which clearly outlines the facts of a plaintiff’s statement.
In other to serve a statement of claim in Ontario, you need to hire a lawyer of a Process Server. You cannot serve the statement of the claim yourself according to the Rules of Civil Procedures.
Similarly, if you are the defendant serving your Statement of Defence, you need to hire a lawyer or a process server. Furthermore, you have 20 days to serve your statement of defence. You will get 10 days extra if you file a Notice of Intent to Defend.
PLEASE NOTE: If you do not serve and file a Statement of Defence within the stipulated timeframe, the other party (the Plaintiff) can “note you in default” of the lawsuit, and this will strip you of the right of defence. You will then have to pay the Plaintiff, or risk getting your assets seized or bank accounts frozen.
The point is, if you are a Defendant, you need the professional help of a legal adviser or lawyer to help you file a strong defence and collect the necessary facts.
Small Claims Court Forms
While most small claims court proceedings are more relaxed compared to normal court proceedings, they still require a lot of paperwork. You may need the help and expertise of a lawyer to fill out your small claims court forms before they are reviewed and then filed. For instance, when filling out your small claims court forms, you’ll need to fill out any one of the following (as the case may be):
- Additional Parties (Form 1A)
- Affidavit (Motion for Payment Out of Court) (Form 4B)
- Notice to Alleged Partner (Form 5A)
- Affidavit of Service (Form 8A)
- Additional Debtors (Form 1A.1)
- Content to Act as Litigation Guardian (Form 4A)
- Plaintiff’s Claim (If you are the Plaintiff) (Form 7A)
- Defence (Form 9A)
- Request to Clerk (Form 9B)
- Offer to Settle (Form 14A)
- Defendant’s Claim (If you are the defendant) (Form 10A)
- Summons to Witness (Form 18A)
- Notice of Garnishment (Form 20E) and many more.
You can see the full list of the electronic versions of Small Claims Court Forms here.
Small Claims Court Rules
Unlike regular courts, certain rules guide the proceedings of the Canadian Small Claims Court. These rules are known as the Small Claims Court rules O Reg 258/98. Some of these rules include:
- Settlement Conferences (Rule 13) are compulsory and are automatically organized by the courthouse for every defended action within 90 days after the first Defence filed.
- Assuming the defendant(s) arrives at the conclusion that they have an ongoing claim versus the Plaintiff or other parties relied upon by the Plaintiff(s), the defendant(s) may file a Defendants’ claim – according to Rule 10 in no more than twenty (20) days starting from the day the defendants’ filed the defence in the small claims court
- After the issuance of the Plaintiffs’ Claim, it must be served on the defendant (s) within 6 months of the date of issuance. (Rule 8.01).
- The defendant(s) must file their Defence with proof of service 20 days after they have been served with the Plaintiff’s Claim. (Rule 9.01).
- You must draft and issue a Plaintiff’s Claim to start a case in Small Claims Court (Rule 7.01)
- If a Defendant fails to deliver their Defence within 20 days of after the service of the process as being served on them, the Plaintiff can indicate the defendant as default and thus initiate “default proceedings” (Rule 11).
You can view the full version of the Small Claims Court Rules here