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How do you file a Plaintiff’s Claim? 

Gavel, court hammer. Free public domain CC0 photo.

To start a lawsuit in Small Claims Court, you will need to complete and file  a Plaintiff’s Claim form with the court. Then you will need to deliver the Claim to  the defendants. How and where you file your Plaintiff’s Claim is important  because it can help you avoid administrative problems and delays. 

How to file 

After completing the Plaintiff’s Claim form, you must file it with the Small  Claims Court and pay a small court fee. It can be filed in person, by mail, or online. 

File Online 

To submit a claim online, you must have a Service Ontario account, and a  Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or online banking account to pay the  filing fee. Any supporting documents must first be scanned and saved,  then included when filing the claim online. If a claim is submitted online, the  court-stamped Plaintiff’s Claim form will be returned to the sender by email,  along with instructions on what steps to take next, including delivering copies  of the court-issued claim to each defendant. Visit the Service Ontario site for  more information on filing your Claim online. 

File in person or by mail 

If submitting the Plaintiff’s Claim to the Small Claims Court in person or by  mail, include all supporting documents, and copies for yourself and each  defendant. The court clerk will keep the original Claim and one copy of  the supporting documents in the court file. The copies will be stamped  and returned to you. One stamped copy is for your records and the others are to be served on each defendant.

If possible, it is best to take your documents personally to the court because  the clerk can tell you right away if your claim is incomplete. If you mail them,  you might end up wasting valuable time mailing documents back and forth with the court. 

There is a small fee which can be paid by cash, money order, or by certified cheque. Cheques should be made payable to the Minister of Finance. 

To verify that your Claim has been filed and that the lawsuit is underway, the  Small Claims Court office will give you a Claim number to use whenever you  are referring to your case. Make sure it is written in the upper right-hand corner of all of your documents. 

How to decide which court to file with 

An important consideration when you file a Claim is deciding which Small  Claims Court to file in because this will be the place where the trial will be  held. Although there are many Small Claims Courts throughout Ontario, you  must file your Claim at the courthouse where: 

  • The event took place or problem occurred, 
  • The person or business you are suing lives or carries on business, or 
  • The court nearest to where the person you are suing lives or carries on business is located.

You may be required to file an Affidavit for Jurisdiction at the Small Claims  Court where you want the trial to be held, which states why you want to have  your action in that specific place. The staff at the court can give you the  Affidavit form and printed instructions on how to complete it. For more information about the Small Claims Court in Ontario, visit the Ministry of  the Attorney General.

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