I filed a claim with the Small Claims online service. What happens next?
Question & AnswerI filed a claim with the Small Claims online service. What happens next?
4. Go to your settlement conference
The date and time of your is on your Notice of Settlement Conference. Get to court early so that you have time to find the right courtroom.
The day's list of cases is usually posted on a board near the entrance to the court or outside the courtroom. If you have trouble finding it, ask for help at the court counter.
If you can't go to court on the date of the settlement conference, contact the court office and ask to change the date. If you don't go to the settlement conference and the does, the court can order you to pay the defendant's expenses for going.
Purpose of a settlement conference
A settlement conference is a private meeting with you, the defendant, and a judge. You have to be able to explain:
- why you're suing the defendant
- what happened
- why they owe you the amount you're asking for
- what evidence and witnesses you have to prove your claim
The purpose of the settlement conference is to:
- make sure you and the defendant know both sides of the story
- let the defendant know what evidence and witnesses you plan to use
- see if there are things you can agree on without having a trial
Think about what you’d agree to
Before the settlement conference, think about what you would agree to. You may decide to accept less than the full amount you're asking for. For example, some people agree to less because they:
- don't want to have a trial
- hope the defendant will pay them sooner if the amount is lower
If you reach an agreement, you might not need to have a trial. The judge can make a final order.
Or, if you agree on some things, it might make the trial shorter, simpler, and less expensive.
You don't have to agree to anything at the settlement conference if you don't want to. But you must go to it.
All discussions at a settlement conference are confidential. This means you can't talk about what happened at your settlement conference at trial.