Small Claims Court Overview

Northwest Territories

Small claims are brought in the Territorial Court. The court  has jurisdiction over claims not exceeding $35,000.00.

Action Timeline

File and serve claim

The plaintiff files a claim (Form 1) with the clerk of the Territorial Court nearest the place where the action arose and serves the defendant with a copy of the claim and defence (Form 4). For a claim of $500 or less the filing fee is $25. For claims more than $500 the filing fee is $50.

This is done when the action is initiated. No time limit is specified as to when a defendant must be served after the claim is filed.

The defendant has the opportunity to respond

From the date of service, the defendant has a set amount of time to file a defence with the clerk. The defendant may counterclaim against the plaintiff.

Within 25 days of service of the claim.

Application for default judgment

The plaintiff must issue a notice of trial and pay the set fee of $5.

If the defendant fails to file a reply with the clerk of the court within the prescribed time, the claimant can apply for a default judgment.

After the timeframe noted above for the filing of a defence by a defendant.

Possible Outcomes Timeline

Withdrawal of the claim or counterclaim

Either party can serve notice of a withdrawal of a claim or counterclaim.

At any time.

Award of a default judgment

If either party fails to attend the hearing, the Court can award a default judgment.

When a party does not appear at the hearing.

Offer to settle

Either party can offer to settle the claim.

At any time before a judgment is made.

Judgment

If there is a trial and both parties appear, the judge will hear the case of both the claimant and the defendant, and will make a judgment using the information presented.

On, or as soon as possible after, the date of the hearing.

Further Options Timeline

Appeal to a higher court

The appellant, or party who appeals the decision of the lower court, can appeal to the Supreme Court if the sum in dispute is more than $500.

Within 30 days after the court makes a judgment.

Canada

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