Small claims court

I, together with 2 other people, am being sued in Small Claims Court for the maximum amount allowed ($35,000). My co-defendants each have a lawyer but I do not. They have been instructed not to discuss the case with me or one other but no explanation has been provided as to the reason for this caveat other than there must be no suspicion of collaboration among the defending parties of the lawsuit. I can understand this at the start of the case, but once the case has been filed with the court, would the issues not be “etched in stone” so to speak? My questions are: 1. Is this no-discussion rule mandated by the courts themselves or just a protocol created by the lawyers for their own convenience? 2. Since the case is being tried in Small Claims Court (as opposed to Civil or Criminal Court), are the prohibitions that would be more meaningful in the latter courts apply to Small Claims? 3. Will the defendants be asked to state under oath that they have not discussed the case amongst themselves? I am finding this “gag” order difficult as I do not have a lawyer and have no way of finding out the status of the case unless I call the Courts themselves (and as you can appreciate, getting hold of someone during COVID is not that easy!). I am left out of the loop and it would be so much simpler if I could ask one of my co-defendants of where things stand. But I do not wish to break the rule of non-communication if it is indeed mandated by the Courts. Please advise.


Asked about 1 month ago in Toronto, Ontario
Categories: Civil Litigation  Small Claims

Answer Now

Angelina Shuster

Answer by Angelina Shuster

VerifiedOntario paralegal

Non communication between parties during the court procedure (unless through lawyers) are a general rule of the law. It was created to prevent prejudice to parties. Since your co-defendants have lawyers/legal representatives, it is in their best interests to communicate with you through them and not directly. The judge may ask you at the next court sitting if you contacted the parties directly. Since you represent yourself, nobody can preclude you from communication with lawyers representing the parties, and the court. 

Posted about 1 month ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact Angelina Shuster, or search the Lawyer Directory.


Comment

"It was created to prevent prejudice to parties." Please explain this. I don't really understand - what prejudice?

Posted about 1 month ago

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