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Starting a Small Claims Case

The first step to start a Small Claims case to is send a Demand Letter. If the matter is not settled once the other party receives and considers your Demand Letter, you complete a Claim Form to start your case. Once you have completed these steps you bring the documents and required fees to Small Claims Court and they issue a Summons with a court date.

Demand Letter

Before you even go to Small Claims the first step is to send a Demand Letter. This is a letter explaining to the other person what they would need to do to settle the matter. It can be sent by regular mail. It should include...

  • date
  • name and address of the person you want to sue
  • your name and contact information
  • nature and amount of the claim, including important background facts
  • what the person would have to do to settle the claim
  • deadline for compliance with your demand
  • statement that if the claim cannot be resolved satisfactorily, you intend to file a claim in Small Claims Court

If the person does not respond to your Demand Letter, or does not agree to what you require to settle the matter, you may decide to start an action in Small Claims Court.

Claim Form

To start a Small Claims case you need to complete a Claim Form. The Saskatchewan Law Courts website has sample Claim Forms for different types of actions. You can use one of these but you must put your own information in.

In the claim form you outline why you are suing and what you are requesting such as payment of a certain amount of money. The claim should only contain enough information to identify why you are suing and what compensation you want. It should not contain evidence or tell a story.

You will need the correct name and address for the person you are suing. It is helpful if you also have phone numbers and email addresses for the parties.

Top Heading

At the top of the page you put your name and address with the word Plaintiff beside it and the other party's name and address with the word Defendant beside it. Under this you put “Statement of Plaintiff’s Claim.”

Paragraphs

Then organize your claim into numbered paragraphs containing the following information in this order:

1. Describe the Plaintiff

Use your full legal name with no initials. Include where you live (city, town, RM etc.).

Example

The Plaintiff, Mary Ann Jones, resides in the Town of Leask, Saskatchewan.

2. Describe the Defendant

Use their full legal name with no initials. Include where they live (city, town, RM etc.)

It is very important to properly name the person you have a claim against. If you do not name the right person in your claim you may get a judgment that cannot be enforced against the person who owes you money or services.

Corporate Defendants

The defendant may be a corporation. If a business is a corporation you can usually tell because the company's name will end with "limited," "corporation," "incorporated" or an abbreviation for one of these names like Ltd., Corp. or Inc. If you are claiming against a corporation you must use the corporation's correct legal name and confirm that it has a registered office in the province, as well as the address of the registered office.

A Profile Report on the corporation from the Corporate Registry will have this information. Some courts require you to file the Profile Report with your claim. Profile Reports can be printed from the Corporate Registry website if you have the correct name and entity number of the corporation. They can also be ordered by phone (1-866-275-4721) or fax (306-787-8999). A fee is charged by the Corporate Registry for this information.

Unincorporated Businesses

The defendant may also be an unincorporated business carried on under a different name than its owner. If you are claiming against a business that is not incorporated you should name both the business and the individual who owns the business.

Example:

The Defendant, John Richard Black resides in the City of Regina, Saskatchewan, and carries on business under the name of Black's Autobody.

3. Describe your Claim

Outline the original purchase, agreement or contract and describe what went wrong and why you are suing.

Example:
The defendant agreed in writing to fix my fence. I gave him a deposit in the amount of $200 and money to buy materials in the amount of $1000. Since then 3 months have passed and he has done no work on my fence. I have been unable to reach him at the phone number he provided and he did not respond to my demand letter, sent to the address he provided.

4. Describe Attempts to Settle

Outline the steps you have taken to resolve the issue. Refer to the Demand Letter by date and state what was demanded of the defendant and what (if anything) the defendant did in response to the letter.

5. Outline What you Want

State, in point form, what you are asking the court for including...

  • judgment in the sum of (the amount of money you are asking for)
  • interest pursuant to the Pre-Judgment Interest Act or an agreement (the court can order the defendant to pay you interest for the time between when the defendant first owed you the money and when you get judgment)
  • filing costs of your proceedings (your filing fee)
  • such other costs as the Honourable Court may deem just

Documents

You need to gather any documents you have to support your case. This could be things like a bill of sale, estimate, contract, invoice or a photograph. You need to make copies of everything. Then make a document and photograph list organized by date. List the earliest one first.

Filing the Claim

Provincial Courts are open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Although appointments are not always required it is a good idea to phone the Court first and make sure a Small Claims Clerk will be available.

Once you have prepared everything you need to pursue your claim, take your papers to the Provincial Court nearest to where the incident happened. If you cannot tell where the incident occurred, for example, the goods were ordered over the internet, take your documents to the Provincial Court nearest to where the other party lives.

You must bring:

  • correct name and address of both parties
  • full details of what happened – dates, locations etc.
  • copy of your Demand Letter
  • your completed claim form
  • your Document List and copies of all your documents
  • originals of all documents that you will use in your case
  • $100 for the court fee (cash, cheque or credit card)

Summons

The Summons is issued by the court and sets out a court date.

Once you file your claim the court will issue a Summons. The Summons tells the defendant that they are being sued, and the place, time and date the defendant and you are required to go to court. Your claim is attached to the Summons.

After the court issues the Summons, one copy is kept on file and two copies are mailed to you or may be picked up at the court house. You must then serve the summons, your claim and the other documents provided by the court on the other party.

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