Going to Court
Going to court can be a big decision, you’ll want to consider what that involves.
Court can be:
- Time consuming: Preparing a trial takes a lot of time and it usually takes a year until a trial happens
- Stressful: Trial can cause a lot of animosity between the parties and it is a lot of work
- Expensive: You may need to spend some money on legal advice, filing fees, or take time off work
You can settle at any point
Up until the judge makes a final decision, you and the other party can reach an agreement between yourselves. Most Small Claims Court cases settle without a trial. Less than 10% of claims actually make it to a trial. In fact, the court encourages people to continue to try and work things out. To help people reach a settlement before trial, the Small Claims Court process includes several steps to help parties to resolve disputes, including: mediation, settlement conferences and trial conferences.
Remember: Limitation Periods
It is always a good idea to try to work out a solution first rather than jumping straight into the court process. Just remember to pay attention to the limitation period. If you are still negotiating, but the limitation period on your matter is coming up, you can file your claim with the court and then continue negotiating. To learn more see Limitation Periods.