FREQUENTLY ASK QUESTION
These FAQs are designed for the civil claim process.
CIVIL CLAIM PROCESS
STEP 1: INITIAL INVESTIGATION OF YOUR CLAIM
Your claim is an investment of your trust and money. It is also our firm’s commitment to successfully bring your claim forward. The civil process cannot begin until we have outlined the facts of your case. What occurred? Who was involved? When did it occur? Do you possess any documents to substantiate your claim?
After our firm has reviewed your information we will arrange a consultation with a member of our firm to discuss with you personally the merits of your claim.
During the consultation, a member of our firm will discuss with you why we believe you do or do not have a claim against the offending party. To streamline the meeting we request you submit an electronic Civil Intake Form prior to the meeting. If your form is not submitted your meeting will be cancelled.
Meetings will be scheduled by appointment only. Understand that our firm focuses predominantly on litigation and our time is spent in the courtroom. If we are unable to assist you in your matter we will direct you to the lawyer referral service.
STEP 2: FORMALIZING OUR ARRANGEMENT
After a meeting with a member of our firm, we will ask you to sign a copy of our Retainer Agreement, a Letter of Authorization, and make a cash deposit. Certified cheques and Paypal are accepted. This will provide our firm with all of the necessary documentation to generate an opinion on your case and get started right away. Our firm cannot accept each and every case, therefore it is important that you be clear, honest, and detailed.
No work will begin until a formal retainer agreement has been signed. If you fail to comply with the arrangements within the agreement, a letter and invoice will be sent to your last known address and payment for all the work that was completed on your file up to and including the date of the invoice will be due within 30 days.
STEP 3: FILING AND RESPONDING
STATEMENT OF CLAIM OR NOTICE OF ACTION
The filing of any Statement of Claim or Notice of Action is subject to any existing Statutory Limitation Period. You must inform our firm if it has been more than 1 year since the incident giving rise to the action took place. If your matter does not violate any limitation periods, either a Notice of Action, a document that allows for an action to be initiated before submitting particulars regarding your claim, or a Statement of Claim, which particularizes your claim, will be issued. The Statement of Claim will set out the issues of the case, the damages you are seeking, and the jurisdiction where your case will be heard.
SERVICE OF DOCUMENTS
All documents must be filed with the court and served upon the other side.
STATEMENT OF DEFENCE
If a Statement of Defence or a Notice to Defend is not received within 20 days of service of the Statement of Claim, a motion for Default Judgment will be made to the court. The Statement of Defence explains how the opposing party intends to defend the claim, and the Notice to Defend provides the party with additional time to complete their pleadings.
A Default Judgment is a motion that can be brought if the opposing side failed to defend against the issues articulated in the Statement of Claim. The court will deem the facts set out in the Statement of Claim as true and render a judgment based on those facts.
COUNTERCLAIM, CROSSCLAIMS AND THIRD PARTY PLEADINGS
Once a claim has been issued, the opposing party has the right to respond on the same facts indicating that they are entitled to damages. This is known as a “Counterclaim”. Furthermore, if the original Statement of Claim has more than one Defendant the two Defendants can sue each other, this is a “Crossclaim”. Finally if a party that was not originally involved in the original Statement of Claim takes issue with the Statement of Defence, they too can respond with a claim, this is a “Third Party Claim”.
A reply is a pleading which addresses issues that were raised in the Statement of Defense that were not addressed in the Statement of Claim.
AFFIDAVIT OF DOCUMENTS
It is important that after the pleadings have been made that a list of all documents which we intend to use for trial are compiled and sent to the opposing party. The Affidavit of Documents is a collection of all the material which you indicate under oath, reflect was, and has been, in your possession. Certain documents may warrant continued privacy, these documents are known as privileged. The name of these documents must also be disclosed but not their content unless the court orders otherwise. By completing the Affidavit of Documents it allows for you to begin questioning the other side in what is known as Examination for Discovery.
STEP 4: EXAMINATION FOR DISCOVERY
An Examination for Discovery is a very important step in the civil process. Preparation for Discovery requires your involvement and review of our questions as well as your suggestions. This step involves both sides meeting at an examination center, and taking the opportunity to question the opposing side’s clients and witnesses. The process can be very lengthy and can span approximately two days per potential witness. To shorten the length and cost to you, certain admissions regarding documents, place, and time will be asked of you before proceeding.
STEP 5: COURT PROCEEDING
Within the civil process disagreements can arise between the opposing sides which can hinder the progress of the claim such as production of documents, failure to satisfy promises that were made during the Examination of Discoveries (known as Undertakings). When this occurs, motions are brought before the court and a Judge makes a determination on that specific issue. Once a Judge renders a decision the issue has been disposed of and any cost rulings are final. If costs for a motion are not satisfied, the party who is in breach of the order cannot proceed without reprisal.
Status hearings are meetings with the two opposing sides and a Judge. It is here that there is a discussion regarding the potential witnesses for trial and what the issues will be. The Judge will opine regarding his impressions of the case and possible room for resolution.
All trials take place in the Superior Court of Justice.