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How to start serving a small claims document. Small claims are civil lawsuits that deal with disputes whose value is below CAD 35,000. If you need to recover property or demand a payment that is below 35,000 CAD, then you can file a suit with the small claims court. This is in such cases as unpaid loans or rent, property damage, personal injuries, debts or even a breach of contract.
You can also file a small claims suit if the value of the property or payment is above the limit, but you will have to give up the amount above it.
As all suits go, you have to notify the defendant of the charge against them. This is where process serving comes in. You have to find a way of serving small claims document to the defendant legally and in a timely fashion.
How to Start Serving a Small Claims Document
Here are few details you need to know about serving a small claims document:
Once you file the claim in court, you have to serve the defendant with copies of the lawsuit. If there is more than one defendant, ensure that each is served with a copy of the relevant documents.
In this case, this documents would be the Plaintiff’s claim bearing an official stamp, and any other document you filed in court to support your claim.
Deadlines of Service
You must note that there is a deadline to when you should serve the small claim documents. When you file your claim in court, the clerk stamps the documents with a date stamp. You must serve the documents within 6 months from this date for your case to go to court if you reside in Canada. See Beginners Guide to Process Serving In Canada
However, if you miss the deadline, you can apply for an extension of service. You can do this either to a judge or the registrar depending on the stipulations given in your province. However, you might need to explain why you could not serve the documents in time.
Serving a Person Out Of Their Province
You might want to serve someone the court documents only to find that they are no longer in their province. Some province law provide that if you can confirm their current address, you can still serve them wherever they are as if they were in their resident province.
For example, if the person lives in Montreal but constantly conducts business in Ontario, you can serve them or have them served in Ontario. This situation provides you with the opportunity to claim any extra costs you might have to incur in serving them out of the province.
Failed Service of Small Claim
There are several reasons why you might be unable to serve the defendant the claim documents. It could be because they have moved and you cannot find their current address. It could also be because they are aware that you want to serve them with the court documents and are avoiding the service.
In such a case, you will need to file a motion to get an order for Alternate to personal service or substituted service – these includes leaving the court documents with an adult relative of the defendant, posting the documents on the defendant’s door or mailing the documents to the defendant’s employer.
The final straw if all this fails is emailing the defendant to their personal or work email. Please note that when the court grants you the substituted service, you have to include a copy of it when serving the rest of your claim documents.
You do not have to endure serving small claims documents yourself, as a matter of fact, in most provinces you can serve your legal documents yourself . There are people whose entire job description is serving court documents.
You can find process servers via the process server app such as Court Runner, that can highlight process servers available in your area. You can also track your documents from when the process server receives them to when they serve the documents on the other party.