Small Claims and Covid-19
These are unprecedented times for Small Claims in Ontario. The courts have not been sitting since mid March. They are not expected to sit again until November. Some appearances are being scheduled, but very few. Paralegals and lawyers were deemed an essential service. They are needed now more than ever. With some paralegals having done hundreds or even thousands of settlement conferences, motions and trials, they have the experience to know to some degree how the process will go. This ability gives them the right experience to hold telephone conferences and possibly settle many cases before the courts reopen. Small Claims being a high volume court, is a reason paralegals tend to have had a high volume of experience if they have been around a significant amount of time. They have seen how judges successfully get cases settled. If there is counsel on the other side, both parties likely know how the process will go, so this may be the best opportunity to resolve the matter before the courts resume and legal costs escalate.
Someone may wonder why a defendant would want to attempt to resolve the matter and not put it off. They are many honest defendants who fell on hard times that landed them in court. This may be a golden opportunity for that defendant to save money on what they owe, and structure a payment plan they can live with, rather than have a judgment and garnishments forced on them with no choice how they pay. If they do this now they have some resolution to their issue without the worry of the unknown in the future. Having a legal matter hanging over your head can cause a lot of anxiety. It is fair to expect that they defendant has concerns that there is no judge present and only a paralegal or lawyer on the other side that is trying to explain what to expect knowing they are there for their client’s interests. This is where it is worth a small investment to hire a paralegal or lawyer to help navigate the process is a wise idea.
Paralegals and lawyers are navigating uncharted waters, but with the knowledge and experience to hopefully get the best results for their clients. When the courts finally do resume, it is expected there will be a large backlog and the wait times for hearings may be quite long, without the confidence that a second wave may hit and everything is shut down yet again. Paralegals and lawyers have continued to work through these times and have found ways to serve their clients at a safe distance due to technology. Do not be afraid to ask your representative about their experience in matters like yours and find one that is a good fit for you and your case. Now is the time to act. Read about Advancing Your Career
Susan M. Koprich, B.A.
Koprich Paralegal Services
With 25 years’ experience in Small Claims
Note: If there are any suggestions or corrections. Please mail us. Go in the contact section.