Effective January 1, 2015, the monetary jurisdiction for actions instituted in the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec will increase from $7,000 to $15,000.
Nevertheless, cases already in progress which, as of January 1, 2015, would fall within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec will still proceed before the Civil Chamber of the Court of Québec, which was already seized of them.
No enterprise should ignore the negative impact which any judgment rendered against it may have, even if it is a judgment of the Small Claims Division.
For example, such judgments are often reported by the media, thereby damaging the reputation of the enterprise.
Moreover, a single judgment from the Small Claims Division condemning a business organization can lead to the institution of a class action against the enterprise concerned, especially if the judgment finds a "defect of manufacture" or a violation of the Consumer Protection Act.
In view of its higher monetary jurisdiction, the number of claims filed in the Small Claims Division can be expected to increase. The Minister of Justice, Mrs. Stéphanie Vallée, has predicted that this increase will likely range between 4 and 10%.
Although an enterprise, whether large or small, may be sued in the Small Claims Division, it may not be represented by counsel. Only an officer or some other person working exclusively for the enterprise under a contract of employment may represent it.
In this context, it is critically important for any enterprise to ensure that it has well-informed representatives on staff and a customer service department ready and able to respond to such claims.
Although representation by counsel is impossible before the Small Claims Division, Borden Ladner Gervais is able to offer you the services of one or more junior lawyers and paralegals, who can guide and advise you in contesting or settling any Small Claims action.