A defendant who wishes to defend a plaintiff's claims must file a Small Claims Court Defence (Form 9A) at the Small Claims Court within 20 days of being served with the claim. In case the plaintiff served the defence by mail, the court rules may allow some additional time to file the defence at the Small Claims Court.
It is important to prepare and file your defence at the Small Claims Court promptly. If you fail to file the defence within time limit specified in the Small Claims Court Rules, the plaintiff's lawyer may note you in default and move for a default judgment against the defendant.
It is difficult to underestimate the importance of well prepared defence for the success of your Small Claims Court case. The professionally prepared defence sets the defendant's position at the very beginning. It strengthens the defendant's bargaining position at the Small Claims Court settlement conference and increases the chance of settlement without going to trial. In addition, a concise outline of the relevant facts in the defence gives the judge a clear summary of your defence even before you give evidence in court. The inadvertent admissions or contradictions in your defence can destroy your chance of winning at trial or damage the credibility of a witness for the defence.
The Small Claims Court Defence (Form 9A) must contain the reasons why the defendant opposes the plaintiff's claim with a reasonable amount of details, defendant's name, telephone number and address and the lawyer's information. The defendant must also attach a copy of evidence to the Small Claims Court Defence.
Contact the lawyer to discuss your defence strategy and to schedule a consultation to prepare your Small Claims Court Defence (Form 9A). The lawyer normally provides a flat fee for preparation of defence, which depends on complexity of facts, evidence and law involved.