What is small claims court?
The Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec hears cases in which the amounts claimed do not exceed $15,000. When you appear before the small claims court, you must represent yourself, without the help of a lawyer.
If your claim is just over $15,000, you can lower it to $15,000 to file a complaint with the small claims court.
To claim an amount higher than $15,000, you must take your case to the Civil Division of the Court of Québec.
Procedure to file a complaint with the small claims court
To learn more about filing a complaint with the small claims court and to get details about each step of the process, visit the Justice Québec website, which, among other things, provides a small claims court application form. You can use this form to formalize your request.
You must not exceed a certain period of time to file a claim with the court. For consumer contracts, the Civil Code of Québec generally sets a deadline of 3 years as of the moment the problem first appeared.
After this deadline, your recourse has exceeded the limitation period, which means that you can no longer file a claim with the court. It is therefore in your best interest to exercise your recourse options quickly after the events have occurred. If need be, you can consult an attorney to find out more on the limitation period that applies to your situation.
Refer to the Potential Solutions page to get a better idea of what can be claimed from the merchant. The notions of compensatory damages and punitive damages are also explained.
To help you prepare your case, you can also consult:
- a lawyer or a legal support organization for assistance in preparing your case;
- the Éducaloi page on the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec;
- the Guide des petites créances (in French only), published by the Jeune Barreau de Montréal;
- the document titled "Representing Yourself in Court in Civil Matters," published by the Fondation du Barreau du Québec;
- the “aide-mémoire” (in French only) from the Table de concertation en matière de petites créances (small claims issue table);
Moreover, Community Justice Centres offer information sessions to help you prepare your case. Consult their calendar for more information.
Recovery of a small claim
You have a judgment in your favor, but the convicted merchant does not pay you the debt? Québec.ca website outlines the measures you can take.
Last update : January 25, 2024
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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.