5. Get a response
Question & AnswerHow can I sue in Small Claims Court?
The has 20 calendar days from the day they're served to give you what's called a Defence. In the Defence, they explain why they disagree with all or part of your claim.
If the defendant doesn't a Defence within 20 days, you can ask the court to “note the defendant in default”. This means the court will keep a record that says the defendant didn't follow the rules because they didn't file their Defence in time.
To ask the court to note that the defendant is in default, complete a Request to Clerk (Form 9B). Give the completed form to a . The court clerk will file the form with your claim.
After you file the Request to Clerk, the court can:
- decide your claim
- order the defendant to pay you the amount of your claim
- schedule an assessment hearing that you must attend to explain to the court what the defendant owes you
Until you file a Request to Clerk, the defendant can file a Defence. They can do this even after the time limit of 20 days has passed. So it's a good idea to file your Request to Clerk as soon as the 20 days have passed.
If the defendant files a Defence in time, the court sends a Notice of Settlement Conference to both of you. The should be no later than 90 days after the defendant files their Defence.
A settlement conference is a meeting with a judge. The purpose is to:
- make sure you and the defendant know both sides of the story
- let the defendant know what evidence you plan to use
- see if there are things you can agree on
Prepare for the Notice of Settlement Conference
You're supposed to file any documents that prove your claim when you filed your Plaintiff's Claim. But if you didn't include all of the documents or have found more documents:
- them on the defendant, and
- file them with the court.
You can serve the documents in person, through a , by mail, or by courier. The documents must be served at least 14 days before the settlement conference.
The court will also send you a blank List of Proposed Witnesses. On this form, list the names, addresses, and contact information of anyone who can support your side of the story. Once you have completed this form, serve it on the defendant. Then give the form to the court clerk. The List of Proposed Witnesses must be served and filed at least 14 days before the settlement conference.
If you reach an agreement at the settlement conference, you may not need a trial. Even if you only agree on some things, it may make the trial shorter and less complicated.