Small Claims Court Overview

Nova Scotia

Small claims are brought in the Small Claims Court. The court has jurisdiction over claims not exceeding $25,000.00.

Action Timeline

File and serve claim

The claimant files a Notice of Claim (Form 1) and a blank Defence/Counterclaim (Form 2) with the clerk of the court and serves these on the defendant.

For a claim of $5,000 or less the filing fee is $96.80. For claims of more than $5,000, the filing fee is $193.55.

This is done when the action is initiated.

The defendant must be served within 10 days of filing.

The defendant has the opportunity to respond

From the date of service, the defendant has a set amount of time to file a Defence/Counterclaim (Form 2) with the clerk. The fee for filing a counterclaim is $64.10.

Within 20 days or within any additional time allowed by the clerk or adjudicator.

Application for default judgment

If the defendant does not file a Defence/Counterclaim (Form 2) with the clerk, the claimant can apply to have a default judgment.

After the timeframe noted above for the filing of a Defence/Counterclaim (Form 2) by a defendant.

Possible Outcomes Timeline

Withdrawal of the claim or counterclaim

Either party can withdraw the claim or counterclaim. The party that the withdrawal favoured may make an application for costs.

Before the date of the hearing.

Award of a default judgment

If the defendant has not filed a defense within the time limit, or does not appear at the hearing, the adjudicator can award a default judgment.

When a defendant fails to attend a hearing.


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.

The winning party may apply to the Court for an execution order to compel payment. The fee for the order is $96.80.

Within 60 days after the hearing.

Further Options Timeline

Appeal to a higher court

The appellant, or party who appeals the decision of the lower court, can appeal either an order or a determination of an adjudicator to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Within 30 days after the order or determination of the adjudicator has been filed with the court.



Print(opens in a new window)