If you want to start a lawsuit, it’s a good idea to retain a lawyer to assist you with the process.
The first step is typically drafting and filing either a Statement of Claim or a Plaintiff’s Claim. A Plaintiff’s Claim commences proceedings in small claims court, and can be filed if the claimant is seeking $35,000 or less, not including interest and costs. Larger claims must be commenced with a Statement of Claim.
Both a Statement of Claim and a Plaintiff’s Claim are supposed to set out the basic information needed to commence a lawsuit, including:
- the names of all of the parties to the action,
- the relevant facts underlying the lawsuit,
- the legal grounds that entitle the plaintiff to relief, and
- the relief or compensation that the plaintiff is seeking.
As noted in our previous blog post, Time Limits to Sue in Ontario, there is a basic 2-year limitation period and an ultimate 15-year limitation period. Most lawsuits in Ontario need to be filed in compliance with these deadlines.
If you are working with a lawyer, typically he or she will need some time to draft your claim. But what if you do not make the decision to sue until days before your limitation period expires? Or what if you do not realize that your limitation period is going to expire until days before the deadline?
If there is not enough time to draft a proper Statement of Claim before the limitation period expires, do not fear – a lawyer can help you get a 30-day extension by filing a Notice of Action under rule 14.03(2) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. If a Notice of Action is filed before the limitation period expires, the plaintiff has an additional 30 days to file a proper Statement of Claim.
A Statement of Claim can only be filed more than 30 days after a Notice of Action is filed if the defendant or defendants consent, or the Court gives the plaintiff permission to file late.
Need legal advice? Minhas Lawyers may help.
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Minhas Lawyers LLP is a multi-practice law firm based in Mississauga. We advise and represent clients across various segments and practice areas.
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