You may not know that as of July 1, 2014, the Small Claims Court
Rules were amended. Most notably, a defendant to a Small Claims
Court action must now serve his or her own Defence (previously, the
Small Claims Court used to take care of serving Defences), and the
defendant must file an Affidavit of Service along with the Defence.
There is also a new provision that permits the Small Claims Court
to stay or dismiss an action on the Court's own initiative
where it appears that the Claim is, among other things, frivolous
and/or vexatious. There are also a few new forms that reflect the
new amendments. You can see the changes and forms HERE.
Also notable is a new pilot project launched by the Ministry of
the Attorney General on August 11, 2014, which permits Plaintiffs
to electronically file Claims for a fixed amount of money in the
following select cities: Ottawa, Brampton, Oshawa and Richmond
Hill. Plaintiffs in those cities can also obtain default judgment
online if a defendant misses the 20 day window for filing his or
her Defence. The Ministry intends to expand this service across
Ontario in the future.
Defendants who have been served with Claims for fixed amounts of
money in the select cities should be even more careful not to miss
the 20 day window for filing a Defence, especially where the
Plaintiff is self-represented, as it has now become easier for the
Plaintiff to obtain default judgment without any delay or
Unfortunately e-filing Defences is currently not available.
Defence lawyers everywhere can only hope that this feature will
become available in the future.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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