If you are having an issue and you would like to go to court but the idea of an expensive legal battle that drags out for years is not something you are interested in you might want to consider Small Claims Court in Nova Scotia. Small Claims Court is designed for matters that are for smaller amounts of money and can be decided without years worth of evidence. However, there are limits to the matters you can take to Small Claims Court.
The largest amount of money a judge can order in Small Claims Court is $25,000. For example, if you are owed $30,000 you can claim that, but the judge can only order a maximum of $25,000 in principal. Interest can be awarded on top of that amount. Interest is calculated at 5% per year unless you have a contract that states otherwise.
Any claim made in Nova Scotia Small Claims Court has to have a tie to Nova Scotia. So, either the situation or dispute must have occurred in Nova Scotia or the contact must have been made in Nova Scotia. It is acceptable if one party is not in Nova Scotia but there must be a tangible logical attachment to Nova Scotia.
There are a number of issues that the Small Claims Court does not have jurisdiction to hear. In general, these deal with matters that will require extensive findings of evidentiary fact. Some examples of the kind of matters Small Claims Court can’t hear are slander, defamation, property, ownership or right of way disputes, anything properly before the Residential Tenancies Board, Will or estate disputes, and claims having to do with pain or suffering are limited to $100. You are also not able to take a big claim and break it into small claims in order to make it fit under the limit. So, for example you cannot take a disputed home renovation claim that is really worth $100,000 and break it into four $25,000 claims for the plumber, the electrician, the drywaller and the excavator.
Examples of these kinds of claims you could make are for the Purchase or Sale of goods, contract disputes, wrongful termination, poor workmanship disputes, property damage (including to vehicles) shareholder disputes and common law division of assets and debts.
You can do Small Claims Court without a lawyer, however given that some claims can be up to $25,000 many people do choose to use a lawyer. We highly recommend you at least have an initial consult to understand what your rights are and how best to proceed.
If you have any questions about Small Claims Court, we'd be happy to help. You can call us at (902) 826-3070 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting with one of our lawyers at our Tantallon law firm. You can also schedule a no commitment Issue Review Consult for $100+HST where you have the opportunity to explain your situation to a lawyer and get basic advice before deciding whether or not you'd like to retain us.
You may also want to read our other blogs on this topic:
By Dianna M. Rievaj LLB, MBA – Managing Lawyer
The information and materials on this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Nothing contained on this blog is legal advice or constitutes a legal opinion. While it is our goal to provide information which is current, legislative changes and court decisions, among other matters, may result in some information no longer being current or accurate. You should consult a lawyer before relying on any information. The views expressed herein by individual contributing lawyers posting entries to the blog are solely those of the authors and should not necessarily be attributed to or considered representative of the firm of Highlander Law Group Lawyers