I’ve been noted in default at Small Claims Court. What can I do?

Because of COVID-19, the Small Claims Court has changed some of its processes, including making a motion to set aside a default judgment. You can learn more in the question: How is Small Claims Court handling cases during COVID-19?

If you've been served with a Plaintiff’s Claim, this means someone is suing you for money. This could be because you owe them money or because you damaged their property.

The person suing you is called the . You're called the .

You must respond by filing a Defence within 20 days of getting the Plaintiff's Claim. If you don't, the court assumes that you agree that you owe the plaintiff what they're asking for.

The plaintiff can ask the court to note you in default. This means you won't be able to take part in the case anymore because you didn't a response in time.

The plaintiff can then ask the court to order you to pay them what they're asking for. This is called asking for a default judgment.

If you find out that you've been noted in default, you can ask the court to set aside the noting in default. If they do, you will get more time to file a Defence.

To do this, fill out Form 15A – Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit and file it with the court. In it, tell the court why you weren't able to file your Defence on time.

It costs $127 to file a Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit.

Language rights

Ontario residents who speak French have the right to bilingual proceedings at Small Claims Court. You can ask for bilingual proceedings in your Defence or by filing a requisition form or a written statement.

Legal help

You don't need a lawyer or paralegal to file a Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit. But you'll probably understand the process better if you talk to a lawyer or paralegal.

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 also read the Guide to Motions and Clerk’s Orders on the Ministry of the Attorney General website to learn about the default process.

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