PLC401 - Small Claims Court Practice and Procedure

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-03-12 00:00:04.067
Last review date 2018-04-10 15:45:54.337

Subject Title
Small Claims Court Practice and Procedure

Subject Description
This subject introduces the student to practice and procedures of the Small Claims Court. Topics covered include basic collection procedures, the decision to sue, the investigation of claims, and the process of commencing an action, bringing it to trial and the enforcement of judgments.

Credit Status
This is a credit course applicable towards the Paralegal CertificateProgram offered through the Faculty of Continuing Education and Training.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Interpret and apply civil procedure practice and procedure as it relates to Small Claims Court, as set out in the Small Claims Court Rules, Courts of Justice Act and other relevant legislation, including how to determine the types of claims that are dealt with by Small Claims Court, as well as the cause of action, type and amount of damages to be claimed, parties or entities who can sue, be sued and/or joined.

2. Identify the rules regarding capacity, litigation guardians and parties under a disability.

3. Demonstrate an ability to determine and  conduct appropriate searches prior to commencing an action.

4. Apply the practice and procedure required under the relevant rules to the initiation of or defence to a claim.

5.  Draft, in a clear and persuasive manner, documents  that are used in a typical Small Claims Court proceeding, including pleadings, notices of motion, affidavits, and others.

6. Apply the rules related to the service of documents.

7.  Display knowledge of typical interim proceedings, such as motions and settlement conferences.

8.  Explain all the basic elements of a Small Claims trial proceeding, including applicable rules of evidence and advocacy, costs, and enforcement of judgments.

9.  Apply the rules related to default proceedings.

10. Demonstrate an attitude of professionalism, as evidenced by an ability to meet deadlines, complete assignments and perform tests and in-class assignments as scheduled.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Execute mathematical operations accurately.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

All Modules One to Four Courses

It is your responsibility to ensure that program requirements and course prerequisites as outlined are met. Prerequisites are included for your academic protection. Course content and your instructor's teaching assumes that students are academically prepared and instruction will proceed accordingly. Students lacking prerequisites not only jeopardize their own ability to succeed but present unnecessary interruption. If you lack appropriate prerequisites (or advanced standing for the prerequisite course) you may be asked to withdraw or transfer to a more appropriate course with the risk of academic/financial penalty.

Topic Outline
1. Introduction to collections and actions for damages in the Small Claims Court

2. Deciding to sue

  • Client interview
  • Opening and organizing files
  • Determining damages: general damages; special damages; calculation of damages
  • Calculation of interest owing
  • Public database & on-line searches prior to suing
3. Overview of jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court
  • Courts of Justice Act
  • Small Claims Rules and Forms

4. Proceedings in the Small Claims Court
  • Commencement of proceedings: demand letters, choice of forum; suing the right party/persons under disability, partnerships; preparation and drafting the claim; service of the claim and subsequent documents.
  • Defence and Defendant's claim
  • Motions
  • Offers to settle
  • Obtaining judgment and certificate of judgment
  • Default proceedings

5. Judgment enforcement
  • Judgment debtor examinations
  • Garnishment
  • Writs of seizure and sale
  • Writs of delivery

Mode of Instruction
Students learn through interactive classroom lectures, discussion and group problem solving.

It is the student's responsibility to save documents, articles and notes that the instructor has provided on Blackboard or in class. Students will not be able to access Blackboard as of the last day of the student's class.

Prescribed Texts
1. Olivo and Gonsalves. Small Claims Court Practice & Procedure. Captus Press. Latest Edition. ISBN#9781553222880

2. "Pre/post judgment Interest Rates", On "Court Services" click on "more", and follow the links.

3. "Small Claims Court Forms",

Reference Material

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

Test # 1 35%
Drafting Project 30%
Final Exam 35%

Materials permitted into tests and exams are at the discretion of the instructor.
Students must attain a grade of at least 50% to pass the course.

Please Note
  • Exams are evaluated on subject knowledge as well as correct language usage, organization, and mastery of the subject.

Absenteeism and Tests
  • Students should be aware that absenteeism will impact on their ability to achieve satisfactory grades.
  • If you miss a test, you must provide the reason in writing to the instructor prior to the next scheduled class. If your reason is accepted, you will be permitted to write a make-up test. Otherwise, you will be given a zero for the test. You must submit an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time of expected absence and the specific reason for your absence, or other appropriate documentation.

Academic Honesty

Students at Seneca College are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavours. When students cheat on an examination, steal the words or ideas of another, or falsify their research results, it corrupts the learning process. A Seneca College degree, diploma or certificate signifies to society mastery of a set of defined learning outcomes in a designated field of study. If academic credit is obtained dishonestly, the value of every graduate's diploma in the field of study is diminished, as is the reputation of the college as a whole.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

The penalty for a first offence is a grade of '0' on the assignment or examination. The penalty for the second offence is expulsion for a time period determined by the Academic Honesty Committee, normally for a minimum of three terms.
For further information refer to the policies section of the Seneca College student handbook, or to the following website:

Prior Learning Assessment
Please be advised that, in accordance with current Law Society of Ontario Paralegal Education Program Accreditation Policy guidelines (September, 2017, ss. 2.15 and 3.8), PLA for prior work experience is no longer permitted in any of the compulsory legal courses in the certificate program, including the field placement. All students, regardless of prior work-related training must fulfil the requirements of all components of the Paralegal Program.

Approved by: Sandra Noble