The purpose of small claims court is to allow the public to settle relatively minor disputes in a fast, expeditious, and most important, cheap way. The rising complexity of law and legal costs makes it difficult to litigate matters in front of the Superior Court. Small Claims Court, while technically a branch of the Superior Court is governed by its own rules, called The Rules of Small Claims Court.
Unlike the Rules of Civil Procedure, which often demand strict compliance and are well nigh impossible for an untrained individual to understand, these rules are relatively simple and allow the presiding judge to interpret them liberally.
Since January 1st, 2010, the maximum amount recoverable in Small Claims is $25,000. What this means is that if your initial claim (not including costs, legal fees or disbursements) is above that amount, it has to be heard in the Superior Court. If it is under that, it is diverted to the Small Claims court.
Another important distinction is that Small Claims Proceedings may be conducted by a paralegal, or even a student at law. This significantly cuts down on costs, since their fees tend to be much lower than a licensed lawyer.
Finally, unlike in Superior Court, deputy judges may preside over the hearing. A deputy judge is not actually a full time judge, but rather a lawyer who is appointed to a three-year term, that allows him or her to preside over such proceedings.
If you believe that you have a small claim matter, and live in the Greater Toronto Area, call Bykov Law for a free consultation at 416-519-3259.