|Home Page||Most asked Regulations||Other Regulations||Zoning & Construction Regulations||Contact Us|
you cannot resolve a dispute with a service-provider, merchant, skilled
tradesman or individual, a quick, economical solution is available in the
form of legal action at the Small
Claims Division of the Court of Québec.
claims court is the arena par excellence for setting many disputes,
especially consumer disputes. What's more, the conditions for having one's
heard are very straightforward.
must be an individual, acting on your own behalf, i.e. without an
must be a legal person (company) which, during the 12-month period
preceding the application, had no more than five persons under its
direction. A legal person must also act without an attorney and be
represented by a director, officer or employee.
individual or company against which you are bringing legal action must
reside or have a place of business in Québec.
lawsuit must be based on a breach of contract or damages incurred by an
individual or caused to property.
of reasons for legal action
the proud owner of a new car or house. Shortly after making your purchase,
you discover a latent defect, one that you could not see at the time of
buy a sofa. Six months later, the fabric is already worn and the vendor
refuses to reimburse you or replace the item.
called a company in to repair your dishwasher. However, the problem
persists and, since the company has refused to come back to do further
repair work, you had to go elsewhere.
did some plumbing for a customer a few months ago and are still waiting to
bought a travel package based on a brochure at the travel agent's. when
you arrive at your destination, you find that the hotel and the site are
not at all what you paid for.
neighbour's dog gets into your garden and wreaks havoc on your flower
beds. Your neighbour refuses to pay for the damage.
registering a claim with the small claims court, it's a good idea to make
one last effort: send a formal notice. This takes the form of a letter in
which you ask the individual or company against which you intend to bring
a claim to settle your problem within a specific time frame. You can send
your letter by registered mail or have it delivered by a bailiff.
a copy of your letter and the return receipt issued by the post office or
the record of proceedings provided by the bailiff.
to take legal action
the individual or company that has caused you to suffer damages fails to
respond to either your request for redress or your formal notice, you can
take legal action:
the judicial district in which the individual resides;
the judicial district in which the event in question occurred.
all documents and, where applicable, any evidence that will help you prove
to the judge that you are justified in taking legal action.
Proof of your formal notice
Documents provided by the Office de la protection du consommateur, if you
contacted this office beforehand
Damaged objects, if applicable
you require one or more individuals to substantiate your proof in court
and to testify on your behalf, you must give their names and addresses to
the clerk, who will summon them to the hearing.
They may be lay witnesses or expert witnesses. A lay witness is an individual who saw, heard or observed what happened. An expert witness possesses knowledge and recognized experience in the field, i.e. a mechanic, an engineer, a skilled tradesman, etc. you can ask that the fees of this expert be paid by the adverse party; the judge will decide whether this request is founded or not.
motion is the document constituting your claim in small claims court, and
is completed by you or the clerk. You must also sign a declaration under
oath in which you affirm solemnly that what you have declared is true.
should begin by determining what you wish to claim:
amount of money as a reimbursement or compensation;
on the amount claimed. The clerk can provide rated and terms;
or repair of a good;
of a contract;
give the clerk the following:
name and address of the individual or company against which you are
bringing the claim;
original-photocopies are not valid-of the documents constituting your
names and addresses of your witnesses, if witnesses need to be summoned.
If not, simply have them accompany you when you are called before the
fees: the clerk will give you the amounts. Social aid recipients are
exempt from legal fees. If you make a formal request to this effect and
win your case, the judgement debtor may be asked to pay these costs.
your case is to come before a judge, you will receive a notice to appear
stating the date set for the hearing. When you arrive at the courtroom,
check to make sure that your name appears on the roll and that your
witnesses are present.
judge conducts the examination and cross-examination and endeavours to
reconcile the two parties. Provide specific information and, if need be,
read the summary you have prepared
explaining your problem.
the judge will render a judgement as soon as the hearing is over. This
means that you will know the verdict the same day. However, the judge may
make a decision a few hours or days later. In this case, the parties
receive the judgement in the mail.
you cannot be present at the hearing due to your age, illness, distance or
any other reason deemed valid by the clerk, you must mandate a relative or
friend to represent you before the court. This person must be aware of the
facts and have in hand a mandate signed by you and authorizing him to
judgement handed down by small claims court judge cannot be appealed.
must be executed within twenty days of the date it was rendered, if this
happened at the hearing, or the date it was served, if it was sent by
mail. Otherwise, the losing party is liable to seizure.
it was the Office de la protection du consommateur that suggested you take
your dispute to small claims court, it would be a good idea to forward it
a copy of your judgement.
a claim is being made against you
you are the person against whom the claim is being made and decide to
contest this claim and prepare a defence, the steps Preparing
your evidence, Hearing, Absence from hearing and Executing the judgement also apply to you.
will have to pay legal fees in the amount indicated on the motio
masculine form used refers to either sex.
3rd quarter 1998.
Québec - Ministère de la Justice