The Lack of Small Claims Court Services is Impacting Matters

In March 2021, we filed a Motion with the Court to be heard in writing.

The Motion was for the return of funds paid into Court relating to a Repair and Storage Liens Act (“RSLA”) matter.

The Motion was brought in writing, without notice to the opposing party, as they failed to proceed with legal action within 90 days of returning the equipment to our client.  This Motion is the proper procedure to proceed with getting those funds back.

Months after our Motion was filed and inaction by the Court, the opposing party finally issued its Plaintiff’s Claim.  This did not change anything with respect to our Motion.

Our Motion was eventually scheduled for January 2022, being ten months after we filed it.  In non-pandemic days, Motions in writing were heard within a month or two max.

We received the Order from the Court dismissing our Motion (without prejudice) that we had been waiting ten months to be dealt with.  The Deputy Judge reading the materials took the position that the opposing party should have been put on notice, even though at the time the Motion was filed, the opposing party had not taken any steps to proceed.  Even though they did eventually bring an action, the RSLA still allows us the relief we were seeking.

We are now bringing another Motion which will now be put in the queue for a Court date, and who knows how long this is going to take to get heard.

Litigants are starting to walk away from their matters because of the lack of moving matters forward by the Small Claims Court during the pandemic.  Superior Court civil matters have been able to proceed virtually with minimal disruption to matters, so there should be no reason Small Claims Court can’t follow suit. 

Currently, we are waiting for 18 Settlement Conferences, 6 Assessments and 8 Trials to be scheduled by the Court.

It appears that the Small Claims Court has a lack of Deputy Judges to get Small Claims Court moving along.  Perhaps its time that new Deputy Judges are hired to handle the backlog, or the Small Claims Court will never get out of the chaos its in.

Murray Brown, Licensed Paralegal