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Where to Start With a Plaintiff's Claim

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

When people call, most of the time they have decided what action they want to bring, our first job is to help the client make a list of what they are going to need if their case is going to win. Here are the top 3 suggestions for starting a Small Claims case in Ontario:

First, identify the cause of action. Why are you suing them? One of the first principles to know comes from the Rules of the Small Claims Court 12.02 (1)(a) which says "The court may, on motion, strike out or amend all or part of any document that, (a) discloses no reasonable cause of action or defence;"

Second, what documents do they need to prove their case? In the case of a contract or agreement, the court needs to know what was agreed to, when and by whom. Text messages and emails are often valuable because they have time stamps and add clarity to what the parties were thinking at the time they entered the contract. If there is work not yet completed, then they will likely also need estimates to complete the job. If this is a question of damages, the court needs to know who caused them, and how much they will cost to fix.

Third, if you choose to write your own Plaintiff's claim, please be sure not to "write a story." Claims are written in numbered paragraphs, with facts concisely stated 1 or 2 to a paragraph. Be sure to reference your evidence (or "exhibits") that are attached to the claim when you mention the associated fact.

As always, remember that this blog should not be taken as legal advice and is no substitute for a consult about your specific facts. Do you have questions? Call Jon today at 519-564-3242 or email

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