1. Reply to the claim

I'm being sued by someone in Small Claims Court. What should I do?
This question has an answer and 5 steps
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1. Reply to the claim

Complete a Defence form

If you disagree with what the plaintiff is asking for, complete a Defence form. You must file this form within 20 days of receiving the Plaintiff's Claim.

If you don't reply to the claim, the court will assume you agree with what the plaintiff is asking for. You may lose the chance to tell your side of the story.

Also, if you don't file a Defence, you may be responsible for extra costs the plaintiff has to pay to get a judgment against you. For example, you can be forced to pay lawyer or filing fees.

On the Defence form, explain why you agree or disagree with each part of the plaintiff’s claim. Attach copies of documents that support your case such as:

  • contracts
  • photographs
  • emails
  • bills, invoices, or receipts

Be as clear and brief as possible. Speak in your own words. You don't have to use legal-sounding language. The Ministry of the Attorney General has a Guide to Replying to a Claim that you can use to help you understand what to do.

Serve the Defence form

Once you've completed the Defence form, serve it on the plaintiff. If several people are involved in suing you, you must serve the Defence on each one.

After the form has been served, complete and file an Affidavit of Service (Form 8A). This form proves to the court that the Defence document was given to the plaintiff.

The Guide to Serving Documents explains the rules that must be followed.

You can serve your documents:

  • in person
  • by mail or fax
  • by courier

File the Defence form

File all the affidavits and your Defence with the court listed on the first page of the Plaintiff’s Claim against you. You must do this within 20 days of receiving the Plaintiff’s Claim.

If you don't file your Defence on time, the court may make a decision without hearing your side of the story.

You must pay a $73 fee to file your Defence. If you can't afford this fee, you can ask the court for a fee waiver.

If you can’t get to a courthouse, you can send your Defence by mail. But, if you file your Defence by mail, the court staff won’t be able to make sure your application has been completed properly.

You May Also Need

Ministry of the Attorney General
Ontario Court Forms
Reviewed: April 1, 2019

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