I filed a claim with the Small Claims online service. What happens next?

3. Prepare for your settlement conference

Small Claims Court usually holds settlement conferences by Zoom or telephone. If the hearing method the court chose won't work for you, you can request a different way for the court to have your . For example, you might ask for it to be held in-person. You must make the request in writing to your local Small Claims Court office. You can learn more about making requests in the Superior Court of Justice's Guidelines to Determine Hearing Method in the Small Claims Court.

You need to prepare for your settlement conference by getting your evidence together. Your evidence includes documents and witnesses. The evidence must relate to the facts that you need to prove your claim.

Documents

Documents used as evidence must be originals and relevant to your case. For example:

  • business records
  • contracts between you and the
  • receipts for money you spent because of what the defendant did
  • reports from experts like building inspectors or repair companies
  • photographs
  • text messages
  • emails

You have to file paper copies of all documents filed online, including your court documents. If you have new documents you plan to use as evidence, you must the new documents on the defendant.

Witnesses

The court will send you a List of Proposed Witnesses with the Notice of Settlement Conference. In it, you have to list all the people you plan to call as a witness if your case goes to trial.

Only use witnesses who:

  • have important information that will help the judge decide your case
  • can give evidence that supports the decision you want the judge to make
  • have important information that goes against the defendant's case

A witness can only give evidence about what they know, not what other people have told them. When a witness testifies about what other people have told them, this is called hearsay.

Serve the defendant

You must serve the defendant with a copy of all your documents and the List of Proposed Witnesses, and file it with the court with an Affidavit of Service at least 14 days before the settlement conference.

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

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