Small Claims Court Ontario Motion to Set-Aside Default Judgment

A motion is a special hearing in small claims court where any party can request a specific order.

The most common orders sought at a motion are: to set aside a default judgment, set aside noting in default, terminate enforcement action, file a defence, strike out a claim or defence that has no merit, to extend a deadline to do something, to file a Defendant’s Claim.

Every motion starts with the party requesting the order to fill out the Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit form. This is issued by the court. You will be given a date and time for the hearing to take place.

The party who is requesting the order is called the Moving Party.

This Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit must be served on every Plaintiff and Defendant in the action. This includes serving it on a party that has been noted in default. That means it must be served on a Defendant even if they did not file a Defence and the Plaintiff had filed documents with the court asked that the Defendant be noted in default.
The party that is served with the Notice of Motion is called the Responding Party. They may serve and file an Affidavit in Response to Motion.

 

If an Affidavit in Response to Motion is served and filed, the person who initially brought the motion called the Moving Party, has one final opportunity to provide an affidavit replying to the Affidavit in Response. This is called a Supplementary Affidavit.

The facts that the judge will consider at a Motion Hearing are limited to the affidavit evidence contained in the Moving Party’s Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit , the Responding Party’s Affidavit in Response to Motion, and Moving party’s Supplementary Affidavit.

The judge will also consider the law, including any rules of the court and case law provided by the parties or their paralegal Ontario.

Check the court’s rules for information on how a motion is to be served, when the Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit, Affidavit in Response, and Supplementary Affidavit  must be served and filed with the court.

Let’s address the most common type of motion the court hears: a motion to set aside default judgment.

Small Claims Court Rule 11.06 deals with a motion to set aside a default judgment. The rule states:

“Setting Aside Noting of Default by Court on Motion

11.06 The court may set aside the noting in default or default judgment against a party and any step that has been taken to enforce the judgment, on such terms as are just, if the party makes a motion to set aside and the court is satisfied that,

(a) the party has a meritorious defence and a reasonable explanation for the default; and

(b) the motion is made as soon as is reasonably possible in all the circumstances.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 24”.

 

This blog will not be addressing the huge amounts of case law regarding the tests to set aside default judgment. If you search case law you will find cases that discuss:

  • how rigidly the judge should apply the three part test
  • there are other tests not mentioned in the Small Claims Court Rules that a judge can consider
  • what is considered a meritorious defence
  • can the court consider a lower standard  then a meritorious defence, and
  • situations where the court must ignore the tests and automatically set-aside the default judgment

 

Do your case law research or hire a paralegal Ontario to represent you.

Note that Small Claims Court Rule 11.06 states that a default judgment may be set aside a default judgment “on such terms as are just.”

What does that mean? The court could order a Defendant to pay costs the Plaintiff to partially compensate the Plaintiff for their inconvenience and expense.

The “such terms as are just,” could also mean the judge will order the Defendant to be pay money into court to be held as security pending the outcome of the trial or settlement.

A judge can also order costs of the motion itself. A Plaintiff may be ordered to pay costs of the motion to the Defendant for opposing a motion that should not have been opposed.

The philosophy of the small claims Ontario is that of Natural Justice. Every case should be tried on its merits, whenever possible. The courts want cases decided based on hearing the evidence of every party.

This means that the overwhelming majority of motions to set aside default judgment will be granted. Often the only issue for the court to decide is the “such terms as are just.”

The court will decide what, if any, order to make regarding costs or security to be paid into court.

Knowing that most default judgments will be set aside I take steps my competitors don’t to minimize the likelihood of the Defendant ever filing a motion to set aside.

I rarely appear in motions court for my Plaintiff clients who have hired me to do everything from the start.

See details on my website.

My philosophy is simple. Why waste my client’s money and time. Knowing that motions to set aside will be granted, I don’t know why some representatives rush to the courthouse to sign default judgment.
If you require representation at a motion, or any other small claims court proceeding, contact Marshall Yarmus of Civil Litigations. www.CivilParalegal.com or call 416-229-1479

How much does it cost to hire a paralegal to evict a tenant?

Our office hears that question a lot. The answer is always “It depends.”
What is your legal reason to evict the tenant? A tenancy that is governed by the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act can only end if the tenant decides to vacate or the landlord has a legal reason to evict the tenant. The landlord must obtain an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board, and file the order with the sheriff.

The legal reasons used most often by landlords to evict a tenant include;

  • the tenant is seriously interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of another tenant or is interfering the landlords lawful rights and privileges,
  • the tenant has committed an illegal act on the premises
  • Non-payment of rent
  • the tenant has damaged the property
  • the tenant has seriously impaired the safety of another person
  • the tenant is persistently late in paying rent
  • the landlord or an immediate member of the landlord’s family in good faith plans to move into the apartment for at least a year,
  • the purchaser of a property or a member of their immediate family plans to move in
  • The landlord needs to make major repairs to the unit which requires vacant possession and a building permit

 

Non-payment of rent accounts for two thirds of all the applications filed with the landlord tenant board Ontario.

Some of the above reasons for bringing an application to the board can be done at any time. Some can only be done at the end of the rental period. If there is a written lease term still in effect some of these options only become available at the end of the lease period.
Every landlord’s eviction starts with an initial notice give to the tenant. You must use the official notices from the Landlord and Tenant Board. There are different notices for every possible eviction application.

The notice must be filled out properly and completely. Many self represented landlords make errors filing out these notices.

Errors such as failing to provide a unit number, filling in dates incorrectly, using the wrong termination date, and not providing enough details of the problem, can deem the notice void. No eviction can flow from an initial notice that the board member finds is void.

I recommend that every landlord, unless they are experienced preparing these notices, hire a paralegal Ontario to prepare the notices.

If you make a mistake completing the notice and the application is dismissed as a result, it
may delay eviction by months. That could cost you thousands of dollars in unpaid rent, damages to the apartment, or delay the closing of a sale as the new purchaser cannot move in as planned.

Every Ontario paralegal is required to carry insurance to protect you. If a paralegal make a mistake their insurance covers them for up one million dollars per claim.

How to evict a tenant in Ontario can be difficult. Without a properly trained Ontario paralegal on your side you may learn some expensive and time consuming lessons.

Your time is valuable. In certain types of evictions your attendance at the hearing is not necessary if you have a paralegal in your side.

Need help to evict a tenant? Our firm, Civil Litigations, would be happy to represent you. Contact Marshall Yarmus at 416-229-1479 or visit our website at www.CivilParalegal.com

If hire a paralegal will I get the costs I pay to you awarded to me by the small claims court Ontario?

This office receives this question almost daily from litigants at the Toronto Small Claims Court, Richmond Hill Small Claims Court and other courts.

Costs are usually awarded to the successful party at a trial. Cost awards are in the discretion of the judge, and are subject to the Courts of Justice Act and the Small Claims Court Rules.
The winning party at a trial who is represented by a paralegal, a lawyer, or a student-at-law, may be entitled to a representation fee intended to partially cover their legal fees.

In most cases the representation fee is capped at 15% of the amount of the Plaintiff’s Claim or the Defendant’s Claim.

Costs are always in the discretion of the judge to award or not under all the circumstances. The Courts of Justice Act, the Small Claims Court Rules, and case law provide judges with guidance on the costs to be awarded. There is no minimum costs that must be awarded.

The general rule is that an award of costs at trial in the Small Claims Court, other than disbursements, shall not exceed 15 per cent of the amount claimed. That 15% of the amount of the claim cost award contemplated in the Courts of Justice Act and the Small Claims Court Rules can be increased if the court considers it necessary in the interests of justice to penalize a party or a party’s representative for unreasonable behavior in the proceeding.

Offers to settle properly made under rule 14.07 may attract double cost consequences of failure to accept.
If you hire a paralegal Ontario to represent you at trial where the amount claimed is $25,000.00, you may be entitled to a representation fee of 15% of $25,000.00 being $3,750.00.

If you make an offer to settle in accordance with Rule 14.07 and are successful at trial that $3,750.00 may be doubled to $7,500.00 in costs awarded in your favour.

Contrast that with costs awarded to a self-represented party at trial who may be awarded a limit of $500.00 for inconvenience and expense.

The winning party at a trial also usually gets their allowable out of pocket disbursements added to the judgment. This includes court fees, process serving capped at $60.00 per person served, and sometimes travel expenses, postage, and photocopies.

If you have paid a paralegal or a lawyer to prepare your Plaintiff’s Claim or Defence or Defendant’s Claim you may be awarded  a $100.00 preparation fee.

If you are requesting costs you will need to cite the specific act, rule, or the case law that allows for it.
This is meant to be general information on cost awards that the small claims court may award. This is not intended to be legal advice.
If you need help with costs awards or anything else dealing with a small claims Ontario proceeding, we would be honored to help you. Contact Marshall Yarmus of Civil Litigations at 416-229-1479 or visit our website at www.CivilParalegal.com

How can an Ontario paralegal help you?

At Civil Litigations we are experts at small claims court representation and landlord and tenant board representation. We choose to focus only on these areas of the law as we have since 1996.

Paralegal Ontario Canada are licensed and regulated by the Law Society of Ontario. It was formerly known as the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The paralegal rules of conduct and the by-laws are mirror images of the strict rules which lawyers operate under.

However, a lawyer in Ontario can provide virtually any legal service a client wants. Paralegals have a very limited scope of services we can offer.

The services Ontario paralegals are permitted to offer include:

1. Representing in the small claims court, provincial offences court, criminal court (for cases where the maximum penalty is six months in jail.)

2. Representing at provincial tribunals, boards and commissions such as the landlord and tenant board, human rights tribunal of Ontario, the labour board, social assistance tribunal, workplace safety and insurance board, the license appeal tribunal.

3. Representing  at federal tribunals, boards, and commissions such as the social security tribunal, transportation appeal tribunal of Canada, national parole board, and the immigration and refugee board.

4.Preparing all paperwork and representing an individual with Statutory Accident Benefits claim. These are claims against your own insurance company related to minor injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident.

We cannot do everything regarding the above courts, tribunals, and boards. We can only deal with a case where these is a hearing to take place, or a prospective hearing.

Note I am not using the confusing language the Law Society of Ontario uses in their by-law 4, section 6(1)(2). You can find the by-law on the Law Society’s website. If there is a discrepancy between my plain language explanation and the language of the by-law, the by-law prevails.

In the courts and tribunal listed above a paralegal may only:

1  Determine what forms need to be completed, fill out the forms, and appear as a representative at any hearing.

2. Provide legal advise on a case that has been filed, is about to be filed, or where a party is contemplating initiating or defending a case before one of these courts or tribunals.

  1. Negotiate a party’s interest in a proceeding.It is important to note that a paralegal may only prepare forms to be used in a hearing before a court or tribunal.There are immigration documents that can be completed and filed. These documents will not necessarily lead to a hearing before the immigration and refugee board. A paralegal is not permitted to prepare these documents. A paralegal may appear as a representative before the immigration and refugee board, but no prepare certain documents for filing.Ontario now has a standardized lease that that must be used for any new residential tenancies entered into after April 30, 2018. A landlord is permitted to attach an appendix with additional conditions to the standard lease.

    The lease may someday be used in a hearing before the Landlord and Tenant Board. A paralegal is not permitted to prepare the lease, or the appendix with additional terms, or advise what additional terms should be included in the lease as this will not necessarily lead to a hearing.

    I have attempted to make a confusing by-law understandable.

If you lack experience with small claims court Ontario  or the landlord tenant board Ontario we can help. Contact Marshall Yarmus (phone 416-229-1479 www.Civilparalegal.com) to represent you at in your small claims court case or landlord and tenant board matter.

Look to another paralegal firm to help you in any matter which a paralegal is permitted to provide to the public.

The Art of Cross-Examination for Small Claims Ontario and the Landlord Tenant Board Ontario

I have called cross-examination an art. Others call it a science. Either way to do it properly takes years of practice. After twenty-two years in business I am still learning new techniques.

Your ability or that of your Ontario paralegal to ask questions of the opposing side’s witnesses can be the difference between winning or losing your case.

Cross-examination is a tool that is only as good as the person wielding it. An experienced paralegal knows how to ask questions to obtain the answers helpful to their client.

The self-represented party who has little or no experience in court often does not know about the amount of preparation necessary to be good cross-examiner. They don’t know the skills necessary to elicit the answers needed.

Before we go further you must know the purposes of cross-examination. This tool is used to poke holes in the evidence of the opposing side’s witness. It is also used to gain admissions from the opposing side’s witnesses that strengthen your case.

Cross-examination is used in small claims court Ontario and the landlord and tenant board. It is also used in other courts and tribunals.

Do you need to ask questions of every opposing witness? No. The less seasoned legal representatives may feel pressure to ask questions of every witness. There is no need to cross-examine a witness that has not said anything to harm your case, and who has nothing to offer that would help your case.

Another novice problem I see is asking one too many questions. Though a carefully planned series of questions you may get a witness to admit an important fact. All can be lost if you ask one more question then necessary which allows the witness to say something that destroys your case.

How do you get the opposing side’s witnesses to admit facts favorable to your case? How do you ask questions based on documents? How do you use cross-examination to show a witness is not credible and should not be believed by the court or tribunal? How do you deal with a difficult to control witness?
There are many goods books that you can read to find answers to these questions. I recommend “Cross-Examination: Science and Techniques, 3rd edition.” However, there is no substitute for experience.

If you lack experience in cross-examining witnesses, we can help. Contact Marshall Yarmus (phone 416-229-1479 www.Civilparalegal.com) to represent you at your small claims court trial or landlord and tenant board hearing.