Since March 16, 2020, all hearings in the Ontario Small Claims Court have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Superior Court of Justice has had procedures in place to bring an urgent civil or commercial list hearing since March 15, 2020, the Small Claims Court was left without the ability to hear urgent motions and garnishment hearings until today.
Today, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice released the updated Notice Regarding the Suspension of Small Claims Court Operations to outline the procedure to request an urgent hearing in Small Claims Court and to provide guidance on the type of matters a judge may find to be urgent. Urgent hearings may include:
- Cases in which a judgment debtor has an outstanding warrant for arrest issued in relation to a Small Claims Court proceeding; or
- Time-sensitive cases that would result in immediate and serious financial hardship if there were no hearing.
Small Claims Court litigants may request an urgent hearing by sending a completed request form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If a judge determines that the hearing is urgent, then the court will provide details of the hearing by email, including: (1) the date and time; (2) whether it will be heard by telephone or video conference; and (3) the procedure for sending materials for the hearing.
Litigants are reminded that the counter at all Small Claims Court locations are not in service until further notice but the parties are still required to comply with orders and rules requiring the service or delivery of documents as between the parties.
If you have a legal issue arising during or because of COVID-19 / Coronavirus, and require urgent legal services, please contact us for an initial consultation through our Request Consultation Form, email to email@example.com or by telephone (416) 979-2020.