Provincial Court

Small Claims Court FAQ

  1. Do I need to have a lawyer represent me in Small Claims Court?
  2. What is a plaintiff?
  3. What is a defendant?
  4. Who can sue and be sued in Small Claims court?
  5. What is the maximum amount of claim in Small Claims Court?
  6. What are the costs in taking a person to Small Claims Court?
  7. Can I claim costs for filing a claim and for service of documents?
  8. What is required if the claim involves a motor vehicle accident?
  9. What do I need to do if I am suing (making a claim against) a business?
  10. What forms do I need to start a claim?
  11. How do I serve the documents?
  12. How long does the defendant have to respond to the statement of claim?
  13. What happens after ten days have elapsed from the date of service of the documents?
  14. What happens if a reply is filed?
  15. What is a settlement conference?
  16. What happens if no agreement is reached at a settlement conference?
  17. What happens after the default judgment is issued by the Court?
  18. How do I register my judgment?

 

1. Do I need to have a lawyer represent me in Small Claims Court?

No. Whether you wish to have a lawyer represent you is your decision.

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2. What is a plaintiff?

Plaintiff means a person who brings a civil action or who sues in a civil action.

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3. What is a defendant?

Defendant is a term used in civil law to indicate a party against whom an action or proceeding is taken.

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4. Who can sue and be sued in Small Claims court?

Only a legal entity can sue and be sued.

A legal entity is:

  • An individual
  • A company/corporation
  • A registered partnership
  • A government - municipal or provincial
  • Unincorporated associations
  • Trade unions
  • The Crown

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5. What is the maximum amount of claim in Small Claims Court?

$25,000.00 before costs. If the amount exceeds $25,000.00, you may initiate your claim in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador or abandon the amount in excess of $25,000.00. A claim cannot be divided to bring it within the jurisdiction of the Court.

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6. What are the costs in taking a person to Small Claims Court?

The fee to file a claim up to and including $499.00 is $50.00. The fee for claims of $500.00 and over is $100.00. This is the only amount you will pay to the Court. Costs of service of documents are extra.

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7. Can I claim costs for filing a claim and for service of documents?

Yes. However, if your costs exceed 10% of your claim, you must make an application to the Court on Form 14 PDF.

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8. What is required if the claim involves a motor vehicle accident?

The plaintiff is required to have an original and two photocopies of the estimate of damages to the vehicle or a receipt for repairs completed.

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9. What do I need to do if I am suing (making a claim against) a business?

First of all, you need to find out if the business is incorporated. To do this, go to the Registry of Companies website at https://cado.eservices.gov.nl.ca/Company/CompanyNameNumberSearch.aspx and complete a detailed company information search. Alternatively, you can also visit the Registry’s office at 59 Elizabeth Avenue, St. John’s to conduct a similar search. If the business is incorporated, you will record the full legal name of the corporation and its registered office address on your Statement of Claim. You will also need to attach the printed search results to this form.

If the business is not incorporated you will need to put the name of the owner and the correct business name and address on the Statement of Claim (e.g. Paul Smith trading as Paul’s Electronics).

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10. What forms do I need to start a claim?

You are required to complete statement of claim (court staff will assist you if you incur any difficulties). When forms are completed, return them to Small Claims Court to be numbered, registered and signed by an authorized officer of the Court before being served on the defendant.

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11. How do I serve the documents?

You may serve the documents personally on the defendant, serve them through registered mail, or have them served by a process server. An instruction sheet on what copies to serve and how to serve them is available at the Court.

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12. How long does the defendant have to respond to the statement of claim?

If the defendant lives within the province, they have 10 days to respond. Those living outside the province have 30 days.

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13. What happens after ten days have elapsed from the date of service of the documents?

If a reply is not filed within ten days (30 days for residents outside the province), the plaintiff may proceed to have default judgment issued.

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14. What happens if a reply is filed?

If a reply is filed, a settlement conference may be held at the time and date set by the Court or a trial date may be set.

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15. What is a settlement conference?

A settlement conference is a pre-trial hearing in which both parties, in the presence of a judge, may discuss the claim and come to an agreement without going to trial.

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16. What happens if no agreement is reached at a settlement conference?

If no agreement is reached at a settlement conference, a date for trial will be set by the Court. If no settlement conference is held, a trial date will be set by the Court.

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17. What happens after the default judgment is issued by the Court?

You may proceed to enforcement if your judgment has been registered with the Sheriff's Office, pursuant to the Judgment Enforcement Act. A brochure is available from the Court pertaining to enforcement.

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18. How do I register my judgment?

If you wish to proceed to enforcement, you should complete a registration form available from the Court and file with your judgment. The Court will register your judgment on the Judgment Enforcement Registry.

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