Defending a case
You must notify the courthouse if you arrive at a settlement, no matter when that occurs.
This can be done by:
- Completing the Amicable Settlement form (SJ-1002) ; or
- Filing with the court office your settlement agreement, which should be signed by both parties and include information such as dates, amount to be paid, conditions and contact information.
Before the defendant files a response (contestation)
As a defendant, nothing prevents you from negotiating a settlement with the plaintiff, even if you have yet to file your response (contestation). However, bear in mind the time limits for indicating your intentions. A judgment may be rendered against you by default if you fail to act in time.
Daniel sued Georges. Georges preferred resolving the matter out of court. Time passed, leaving Georges only 12 days to indicate his intentions before the time limit. George and Daniel enter active discussions to try to settle the suit amicably, but no agreement is reached. Only 2 days remain for George to indicate his intentions. He decides to file a response to avoid losing by default.
Two weeks later, George and Daniel arrive at an amicable settlement. Even though Georges had filed his response form to contest the application, the proceedings could be halted, since the parties had come to an amicable settlement. Georges had wanted to play it safe by filing a response. That ensured he would not lose by default if an amicable settlement could not be reached.
Before a hearing
You can settle a suit amicably at any time, no matter whether you have been summoned to a scheduled hearing or are still waiting for a court date.
With or without mediation, you can try to reach an agreement with the other party. You are entitled to a number of free hours with a mediator to attempt to settle your dispute.
Hearing date not scheduled
It had been two months since Jeanne and Myriam filed their papers with the courthouse. Though no hearing date had been set, they successfully negotiated a settlement over a business lunch. As a result, the court did not have to hear their dispute and no hearing date was needed.
Hearing date scheduled
Mathilda and Roberto’s hearing date was scheduled for the following week. After a few conversations, they came to an amicable settlement. They no longer needed a judge to rule on the matter.
Outside a hearing
During your hearing, you may ask the judge for a recess to try to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. Sometimes, judges may even suggest you take a few minutes to attempt to settle the matter amicably.
At the start of their hearing, the judge told Steeve and Michel that he had reviewed their file. According to the evidence filed, the parties had held talks without arriving at a settlement. The judge asked Steeve and Michel if they wanted to take a few minutes to try to settle the matter amicably before starting the proceedings. The parties refused and the proceedings got underway.
About an hour and a half into the hearing, the judge called for a recess. During the break, Michel made Steeve a monetary offer to resolve the issue amicably. Steeve accepted. This all took place in a courthouse meeting room next door to the courtroom. When the hearing resumed, Michel and Steeve informed the judge that during the break, they had settled out of court. The judge no longer had to rule on the dispute. The hearing was adjourned.
Last update: April 24, 2023