Can you appeal a Small Claims Court decision?


After the trial is over, and the judge has decided the case, usually one party feels satisfied and the other is disappointed. If you have lost your case, this does not mean that the decision was wrong. However, if you believe that the judge made a serious mistake, you may consider whether you want to appeal the judge’s decision. If the amount of the claim is less than $2,500, the law does not give you a right to appeal the decision. For amounts greater than $2,500 (not including costs), you have the right to appeal within 30 days from the date the judgment was made.

An example of an error by a judge may be that the judge refused to let you tell your side of the case before making a judgment, or if the judge did not allow a necessary witness to testify.

An appeal from Small Claims Court goes to a higher court called the Ontario Divisional Court, which is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. The rules for making appeals to the Ontario Divisional Court are complicated, and making an appeal can be expensive and time-consuming. You should only consider an appeal if you believe that the judge made a serious error in the case and there is a substantial amount of money or significant legal rights involved.

To start the appeal process, a Notice of Appeal form and an Appellant’s Certificate Respecting Evidence must be completed and served to all of the parties involved in the initial lawsuit. They must be served within 30 days after the date of the order being appealed.  The Notice and Appellant’s Certificate must also be filed with the Court together with the Court filing fee and proof of service, within 10 days after all parties have been served the documents. The number of steps in an appeal varies from case to case.

For more information about appealing a Small Claims Court decision, refer to the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Guide to Appeals in Divisional Court.