What's New? Changes to the Small Claims Court Rules and Forms in effect July 1, 2014

On July 1, 2014, amendments to court rules and forms under the Rules of Small Claims Court (the "Rules") came into effect.

Service of Defences by Defendant

In the past, the Rules required the defendant to file his or her defence at the court office together with a copy for every plaintiff. Court staff were required to serve a copy of the defence on each of the other parties.

As of July 1, 2014, the defendant is required to serve the defence on every other party. The defence must be served within 20 days of being served with the claim. The defence must be filed, together with an affidavit of service for each party served. Court staff will no longer serve defences.

For more information about service of defences, see the Guide to Replying to a Claim and Guide to Serving Documents available at court offices and online at: www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral.

Striking Out, Stay and Dismissal

Under the Rules, the court may make an order staying or dismissing an action, if the action appears on its face to be inflammatory, a waste in time, a nuisance or an abuse of the court’s process. Effective July 1, 2014, the Rules provide that the court may do so on its own initiative or if the clerk becomes aware of such an action or motion and notifies the court.

Effective July 1, 2014, the Rules also state that the court may also make an order staying or dismissing an action if the court determines that a vexatious litigant (a person who is subject to an order under subsection 140(1) of the Courts of Justice Act) has started or continued an action without having the court’s permission to do so. The court may make an order on its own initiative or if any party to the action files a request asking the court to make such an order.

Court staff will serve all parties with a copy of the endorsement record where such an order is made.

Small Claims Court Forms

Changes have been made to 3 Small Claims Court forms to reflect the changes to the Rules. The forms are available on the Ontario Court Forms website at the following link: www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca.

Forms issued prior to July 1, 2014 can no longer be filed with the court office.

Want more information about Small Claims Court?

For general information about Small Claims Court you can visit the Ministry of the Attorney General's website at: www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral.

The following publications are available on this website under "Small Claims Court":

  • "Before Making a Claim in Small Claims Court", information about what to consider before you make a claim in the Small Claims Court.
  • "Small Claims Court Guides to Procedures", a series of eight guides which provide an overview of court procedures in Small Claims Court.
  • "Small Claims Court Brochures", a series of 12 brochures which provide a one-page summary of court procedures in Small Claims Court.

You can also visit Justice Ontario, a Ministry of the Attorney General website for answers to basic questions about Ontario's justice system, including lawsuits and disputes, family law, criminal law, going to court, human rights, wills and estate planning, tickets and fines, and how to find a lawyer or paralegal.

To access Justice Ontario on-line, visit: www.ontario.ca/justiceontario. For access to this information in over 170 languages, you can also reach Justice Ontario by toll-free telephone at 1-866-252-0104.