Preparing for the hearing and calling parties and witnesses
Once the record is ready, the clerk calls both parties to the hearing.
The clerk mails a notice of hearing to each party, informing them of:
- the place;
- the date; and
- the time of the hearing.
The notice of hearing is sent at least 6 weeks but not more than 3 months before the date of the hearing.
Filing of documents
At this point, each party is asked to file at the court office all the documents that have not yet been provided and that support their case (such as statements or reports).
The documents must be filed at least 30 days before the date of the hearing.
In addition, each party is entitled to receive a copy of the documents filed by the other party, free of charge, by making a request to the clerk.
Calling of witnesses
The notice of hearing informs that parties that they must bring their witnesses to the hearing. A party who believes that a witness may not attend the hearing must inform the clerk and provide the witness’s name and address, using the form List of witnessess to be summoned by the clerk (SJ-839A). The form must be submitted at least 30 days before the date of the hearing.
The clerk then sends a subpoena to the witness named on the form.
Except for an expert witness, a person called as a witness before the Small Claims Division generally testifies without payment, unless the court decides otherwise.
If the judge considers that a witness has been called and has attended needlessly, the party responsible may be ordered to pay the related legal costs.
If your proceeding concerns work that was poorly executed, to take one example, you may need an expert opinion about the technical quality of the work. In such a case you will need an expert witness at the trial.
Affidavit in lieu of testimony
It is possible to file an affidavit in lieu of testimony or in lieu of an expert report, rather than call a witness or expert to the trial. In such a case, you must file the prescribed form at least 30 days before the date of the hearing.
Calculation of the time limit
The time limit is not calculated in working days (Monday to Friday), but in calendar days (Sunday to Saturday). However, if the time limit ends on a Saturday or a holiday, it is extended until the next following working day.