How can I sue in Small Claims Court?

4. Serve your claim on the defendant

You must give specific forms or documents to the person you're suing. When you do this in a way that is allowed by court rules, it's called serving the documents.

After you file your claim with the court, you must it.

To each , deliver a copy of:

  • the stamped Plaintiff‘s Claim
  • all the documents you filed with the court

You should keep the original copies.

When you give the your claim documents, the clerk puts a date stamp on it. You must serve your documents within 6 months of the date on this stamp. If you miss the deadline, the court may refuse to let your case go to court and you could lose the right to sue.

How to serve a claim

When you serve a claim, you can serve the claim in person or hire a to do it for you.

You may also serve the claim on a defendant using or a courier.  

If the defendant is a company, the claim must be served to a manager at the place where they run their business. If it's not clear who the manager is, the claim can be served to someone who appears to be in charge.

The person serving the documents should:

  • try to get the first and last name of the person being served
  • take notes on when and how they served the documents

Some people refuse to take the documents. If this happens, the documents can be dropped on the floor in front of them.

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

Proving the claim was served

The person who serves the claim must complete an Affidavit of Service. This proves to the court that the claim was served on the defendants.

The Affidavit of Service must be completed and signed by the person who delivered the documents. For example, this may be:

  • you
  • your lawyer or other legal representative
  • a process server

It's a good idea for the person serving the claim to look at the Affidavit of Service form before serving the documents. That way, they'll know what information must be included and can write down what they do.

The person serving the documents will need to know:

  • the date and time the claim was served
  • where it was served
  • the first and last name of the person the claim was given to
  • whether the claim was served in person, by courier, or by registered mail

You can also serve the claim by mailing a copy to the company's head office and to all of its directors. If you do this, you need the signature of the person who accepts the delivery. This signature is your proof that the claim was served.

The person who completes the Affidavit of Service must swear it is true. They promise that the information in the document is correct. They do this by signing the Affidavit of Service while someone who has the authority to supervise an or watches. Lawyers or staff at the Small Claims Court have this authority.

Once the Affidavit of Service has been completed, it should be given to the court clerk. The form will be filed with your claim.

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