2. What is the authority and what types of civil cases can be handled by the Small Claims Tribunal?
The Small Claims Tribunal deals quickly, informally and inexpensively with claims for money not exceeding $50,000. Although the Tribunal is a court, the rules governing the presentation of evidence are less strictly adhered to than in most other courts. Furthermore, parties to the disputes are not allowed to have legal representation in actions heard in the Small Claims Tribunal. However, they may consult a lawyer before attending the tribunal.
The main types of claims handled by the Small Claims Tribunal are:
- recovery of debts;
- recovery of service charges;
- damage to property;
- claims in relation to goods sold;
- consumer claims (more information can be found under the topic of Consumer Complaints).
However, the Small Claims Tribunal does not handle claims for:
- possession of land (more information can be found under the topic of Landlord and Tenant);
- alimony (more information can be found under the topic of Matrimonial Matters)
- money lenders' loans;
- libel and slander (more information can be found under the topic of Defamation).
If your claim exceeds $50,000, you are not allowed to subdivide it in order to bring to the Small Claims Tribunal a number of cases that are each below the $50,000 limit. However, you can abandon any amount above $50,000 in order to enable you to bring one claim below $50,000.
What should I do if I decide to file a claim in the Small Claims Tribunal?
For details about the documents you will be required to submit, fees and hearing procedures of the Small Claims Tribunal, please visit the Judiciary's webpage.
For more information about how to prepare for a trial at this Tribunal (from both the claimant's and the defendant's perspective), please click here.