I filed online for liquidated damages. Can I get a default judgment?
Question & AnswerI filed online for liquidated damages. Can I get a default judgment?
Because of COVID-19, the Small Claims Court has changed some of its processes. You can learn more in the question: How is Small Claims Court handling cases during COVID-19?
If the doesn't respond to your claim within 20 days of you serving them, you can ask the court to note them in default. This means the court officially recognizes that they missed the deadline for responding. There is a fee of $89 to do this.
If you don't note the defendant in default after the 20-day time limit passes, they still have time to respond to your claim.
But, noting a defendant in default doesn't mean you will get what you're asking for. You have to ask the court for an order that says how much you're owed. This is called asking for a default judgment.
If you have a , you can show the exact amount the defendant owes you. For example, the defendant might owe you an amount:
- written in a contract
- written on a bounced cheque
- agreed to in a loan
In these situations, you can ask the Small Claims Court Registrar for default judgment immediately.
Even if you get a default judgment, the defendant still might not pay you. It's up to you to collect the money once you have a court order.
If you have a , this means the amount of your claim needs to be proved or assessed by a judge. Read the question My online claim is for non-liquidated damages. How do I get a default judgment? to learn more.
You don't need a lawyer or paralegal to get a default judgment. But you'll probably understand the process better if you talk to a paralegal or lawyer.
If you earn a low income, you may be able to get legal help from Pro Bono Ontario. They offer services in some court locations in Toronto and Ottawa, and a legal advice hotline where you can get up to 30 minutes of free legal advice.
You can read the Guide to Motions and Clerk’s Orders on the Ministry of the Attorney General website to learn about the default process.