STEPS IN A CLAIM

1. Filing a Claim

What is a Plaintiff's Claim:

A Statement of Claim is a document in which you indicate what your grievance is and the monetary amount to which you allege you are entitled.

What is a Defendent's Claim:

A defendant’s claim is also known as a counter-claim. This happens when a defendant is suing the plaintiff for money or other remedy available to the Small Claims Court to rectify the wrong they allegedly suffered at the hands of the plaintiff. The defendant forwards a defence as well as alleges wrong by the other party. In a defendant’s claim, the defendant must also prove their aspect of the claim.

What is a Defence:

A defence is a legal argument that supports the conduct of the defendant and legitimizes their stance. What must be proven in this case are the elements of the defence chosen.

* Note: It is the Judge or most often the Justice of the Peace that determines what is fact

2. Default Judgment

A default judgment occurs when the defendant to the claim fails to file a defence with the court within the allotted period of time and therefore has defaulted on the defence. The judgment is then ruled in favour of the Plaintiff.

3. Settlement Conference

What is it?

It is a conference between both the parties with a judge of the Small Claims Court. In this procedure they will attempt to resolve the claim before going to trial. These conferences avoid the potential costs and uncertainty of trial and aid in the quick resolution of the matter. These conferences are mandatory in Small Claims Court. One can settle at any point during the proceedings until trial.

What is Involved?

All parties to the proceeding will be present and a review of each person's case along with the evidence will take place.The Judge or Justice of the Peace will also help in assessing the relative strength of the parties’ cases, along with each of the legal representatives, however, he/she will not give legal advice in terms of the best course of action. From there, the parties can arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement or decide to go to trial.

Do I need to be there?

Yes. Since it is your case we need you there to proceed and to ensure the settlement (if one is reached) is what youwant.

4. Trial

Both parties to the proceeding debate the issue(s) before a Judge or Justice of the Peace and then a ruling is made. The victorious party is then entitled to costs from the other party to cover court fees and up to %15 of the legal fees associated with the proceeding.

5. Enforcement

Once a verdict has been passed down, the victorious party must enforce the verdict of the court. They must hire a baliffor secure a garnishment agreement through the court. All monies acquired through judgement must go through the court and will be paid out to the victorious party.

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