On October 23, 2019, the Government of Ontario announced that the monetary limit of the Small Claims Court will rise in the new year. On January 1, 2020, the Small Claims Court maximum claim limit will increase to $35,000.00 from the current limit of $25,000.00. In the new year, claims seeking damages up to $35,000.00 must be brought before the Small Claims Court. This change will allow more cases to be resolved more quickly, at a lower cost, and parties will not specifically require a lawyer to represent them.
After January 1, 2020, Small Claims Court litigants will be able to choose whether they are represented, not just by lawyers, but by paralegals and law students. Paralegals and law students will provide litigants with more cost-effective options for legal representation. The change will also reduce wait times for cases at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, due to the fewer number of cases.
Until the increase in the claim limit takes effect on January 1, 2020, claims of over $25,000.00 must be filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. However, the Government of Ontario also declared that once the change takes effect, those who began their claims in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice can seek to have their matter transferred to the Small Claims Court if the amount claimed falls within the new limit of $35,000.00.
In addition to the change to the Small Claims limit, the Government of Ontario announced that it will also increase the minimum monetary amount required for an appeal to the Divisional Court. The minimum monetary amount will increase to $3,500.00 from the current $2,500.00. This change will reduce the number of cases that can be appealed to Divisional Court and encourage litigants to resolve their claims by alternative means.
These changes will give litigants more options to resolve their claims. Those who decide they do not need or cannot afford legal services will have more access to bring the claims themselves. If litigants decide that the services of a paralegal or a law student will suit their needs, they will have the option of retaining those professionals for legal representation instead of a lawyer. Regardless of who is hired to assist with a Small Claims legal matter, it is essential that claims are properly drafted and filed with the court.
Litigants looking for assistance and legal advice should contact Achkar Law. Our lawyers offer candid legal advice that is tailored to the needs of our clients.
If you are an employer who is facing a litigation, or if you are an employee who wants to discuss their rights and options, our team of experienced employment and human rights lawyers at Achkar Law would be happy to help you further navigate the topic.
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