How do I start a claim with the Small Claims Court online service?

2. Learn about time limits

There are a lot of rules you must follow when you sue someone in Small Claims Court. If you don't follow the rules or do things within specific time limits, the court may not deal with your claim, and you may have to pay money to the person you sued.

Some of these time limits are:



Must be done

Plaintiff files a Plaintiff's Claim

In most cases, within 2 years of when the first learned about the problem

Plaintiff serves the

Within 6 months of the claim being issued

Defendant files a Defence

Within 20 days of getting the Plaintiff's Claim

Plaintiff asks for a terms of payment hearing

Within 20 days of getting the Defence  

Get a date

No later than 90 days after the defendant files a Defence

Plaintiff gives the defendant their evidence for trial

No later than 30 days before trial


You must issue your claim within 2 years of when you first learned about the problem. If you file your claim online, it is issued when the emails it back to you signed, dated, and with a court file number and the court seal on it.

Some claims, like those against insurance companies, might have to be issued sooner. To know exactly how much time you have to issue your claim, you should talk to a lawyer or paralegal.

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