8-SMALL CLAIMS COURT

Actions involving small claims

Someone owes you money ender a loan, a lease (other than for a dwelling or piece of land) or you are unsatisfied of a service or a good purchased and paid for, like: dental treatment, plumber, subscription to a physical training center, chiropractor, furniture, repair of all sorts etc.

If the amount of your claim does not exceed a certain maximum as mentioned below, the Law offers you to avail yourself of the Small Claims Court. It is a procedure that is not expensive, well organised and pretty fast.

Any individual, civil partnership or corporation, as well as a tutor, a curator or a mandatary in the execution of a mandate given in case of incapacity, who has a claim not exceeding $15,000.00, without taking interest into account, can take a recovery recourse solely before the Small Claims Court. However, this does not apply to claims concerning the lease of a dwelling, a piece of vacant land or claims for alimony. If the claim exceeds $15,000.00, the claiming party may reduce it to this maximum in order to be able to take action before the Small Claims Court.

A partnership or a corporation can make a claim before this court only if, during the 12 months preceding the date of its legal action, it had no more than 5 employees.

The claim is introduced in the judicial district where the defendant is domiciled.

An individual must act by himself and cannot be represented by a lawyer. Partnerships and corporations must be represented an officer or other person bound exclusively to them under a contract of employment.
The claim must be made in a writing establishing the facts on which it is based and the documents (contracts, correspondence, emails) supporting the claim must be appended thereto. Forms are available to prepare a claim or a defense.
 
The Clerk of the Court notifies the defendant of the claim filed and provides him with a list of the documents filed with the claim.

The defendant has the option to pay the amount claimed, to make a settlement with the plaintiff, to contest the claim or even to make a counterclaim. Contestation is made in writing as well and the relevant documents must be appended. A contestation or counterclaim is notified to the plaintiff in the same manner. Failure by the defendant to respond may result in a judgement rendered by default against him by the Court who will have examined and evaluated the evidence presented by plaintiff at a hearing.

At least 15 days prior to the date fixed for hearing, the parties can provide the Clerk with the names of their witnesses who, if they do not come voluntarily, will be assigned by the Clerk.

At the hearing, the judge informs the parties of the applicable rules of evidence and procedure. The judge will examine the witnesses himself and will help them in an equitable and impartial manner in order to establish and apply the law.

The judgement is provided in writing under the signature of the judge. It is final and is not subject to appeal. Unless it is rendered on the bench immediately after the hearing, the parties are informed of the judgement by the Clerk and provided with a copy thereof. The judgement may be executed only 30 days after the date at which it has been rendered or 10 days if rendered by default in the absence of the defendant.

If a party against whom judgement has been rendered does not voluntarily comply with the conclusions thereof, forced execution is available against the assets of the party against whom it has been rendered.

The firm BOVERRY, ATTORNEYS can help in the preparation of a claim, a defense or in settlement discussions. The firm can also assist in the preparation of a hearing and in execution proceedings. Our legal services are of the best quality and we propose a very competitive fee structure which is well adapted to our clients.

The foregoing information is provided for the benefit of those consulting the Web site of BOVERRY, ATTORNEYS. It shall not be considered as a legal opinion in respect of particular circumstances.