Small Claims Court FAQ
- Do I need to have a lawyer represent me in Small Claims Court?
- What is a plaintiff?
- What is a defendant?
- Who can sue and be sued in Small Claims court?
- What is the maximum amount of claim in Small Claims Court?
- What are the costs in taking a person to Small Claims Court?
- Can I claim costs for filing a claim and for service of documents?
- What is required if the claim involves a motor vehicle accident?
- What is required if the claim is against a company?
- What forms do I need to start a claim?
- How do I serve the documents?
- How long does the defendant have to respond to the statement of claim?
- What happens after ten days have elapsed from the date of service of the documents?
- What happens if a reply is filed?
- What is a settlement conference?
- What happens if no agreement is reached at a settlement conference?
- What happens after the default judgment is issued by the Court?
- How do I register my judgment?
No. Whether you wish to have a lawyer represent you is your decision.
Plaintiff means a person who brings a civil action or who sues in a civil action.
Defendant is a term used in civil law to indicate a party against whom an action or proceeding is taken.
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
$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.
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.
Yes. However, if your costs exceed 10% of your claim, you must make an application to the Court on Form 14 .
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.
It is essential that the full name and address be shown for both plaintiff and defendant. Initials are not sufficient unless it is a firm name. Where a business is not incorporated, it should be shown as the plaintiff's (defendant's) name, plus the business name, e.g., Paul Smith trading as Paul's Electronics. If either the plaintiff or defendant is a company, additional forms must be completed and submitted with the statement of claim. They are available on the website for the Registry of Companies and Deeds or through the address below:
59 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, NL
Tel: (709) 729-3317
Website: Service NL
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.
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.
If the defendant lives within the province, they have 10 days to respond. Those living outside the province have 30 days.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.