1. Home  
  2. Justice and civil status  
  3. Small claims  
  4. Defending a case  
  5. Defending on the merits

Defending on the merits

File Response form to an action at the Small Claims Division (SJ-871E) to defend the case on the merits.

Your defence will only be received if you pay the required judicial fees This hyperlink will open in a new window..

At the same time, you will have to file a list of the people who will be called as witnesses.

You must also, within 10 days, file the supporting documents for your dispute, either as originals or copies, at the courthouse where your application is filed. It is recommended that you make copies for your own records.

In your defence, you can also:

  • ask that the dispute be referred to mediation;
  • ask that the application be dismissed or that the case be referred to another judicial district or to another court or administrative tribunal;
  • involve another person in the trial (such as a co-defendant or impleaded party);
  • file a cross-application (against the plaintiff).

Time limit

You must comply with a time limit of 20 days to indicate that you have decided to defend on the merits. A judgment can be rendered against you starting on the 21st day.

However, until a judgment has been rendered, the clerk cannot refuse to accept your defence, even after the time limit has expired.

In such a case the judge will determine whether or not your defence is admissible.

Amendment of a defence

If you wish to amend your defence after it has been filed, you must complete the section concerning the defendant’s options on the form Formulaire de réponse aux petites créances.

Last update: August 2, 2023


Was the information on this page useful to you?
General notice

You have questions or require additional information?

Please contact Services Québec