Lawyers, you may not want to read this, this might be a tough pill to swallow? These are my personal thoughts based on my personal experiences with Civil Court.
Justice is a weird thing. I have studied it to death and it still leaves me scratching my head wondering, asking why-and the answers become as vague as following a white car in the middle of a snowstorm. I have found that justice in Canada is only for those who are rich, or are very clever. That in most cases if you are being sued in civil court, it is better not to participate than it is to waste your time with the process of jurisprudences; and flip side to this, if you are rich, you are an easy target than compared to someone who is poor and homeless. Seriously, of the five people in my life that I have brought to the halls of justice, only one took the pledge and participated. The other four knew the system well enough not to bother, and I found it (almost) impossible to seek my claim, costs, damages and compensation. In fact, the one time that I was the respondent, it was easer to go on with my life than it was to play the game. To this day, the company that I had an agreement with is still out the initial $72.00, but they are also out on their costs too, so it pays not to bother with Canadian Justice if you have nothing to loose. Was it worth my time to show up—I’m still evaluating that?
I now know that there is a scale that the professionals follow when they go out on suing expeditions. They automatically drop anyone who has no money; who is renting; earning a low wage; has no bank account; has little or no identification, i.e., drivers license or birth certificate; uses aliases and moves around a lot. However, for the poor there is this thing called Small Claims Court, or the Pauper’s Court as it is called in my circles, but you still need to pay to use it though. When I studied Medieval legal systems of European cultures, Small Claims Court to me has a reminiscent quality of early continental European courts where the jurist is free to adjust, amend, vary and control all aspects of the hearing and decisions—although you can appeal in today’s court. One day I was helping a friend fight for his money from a debtor, and once it was our turn, the sitting judge read the Statement of Claim, then threw up his arm up with the documents in hand and said, “You expect to me rule on this? I think you should go back and talk to this person and make the effort on collecting your money before you go into my court.” Perhaps it was because we were not wearing $900.00 suites at the time? I’m still in awe to this day about that?
If you do have something to loose like a house, wages, assets, or your respondent has too, then going to court is the way to go. I have also seen the dual effects of court at play many times as the monetary and psychological costs play their toll and all parties. The trouble is, court is not a guaranteed bet. Just when you thought you had the full force of the law on your side, you are hit with a sucker-punch and your case falls like a house of cards. In one case of mine, I filed for a garnishment of wages and the respondent’s employer decided not to cooperate. The business told me that he does not work in their department any more. I found myself having to take extraordinary measures to track down who this person really worked for before I could I proceed with the action. This involved two days of driving by this guy’s work every ten minutes searching for what door he came out of. Then once I saw him walking out to go home, I went into the building and had to do some quick lurking. I asked one of the managers that I was looking for my “friend.” When I confirmed that that was the respondent’s employer, I then went to the manager’s office to serve the garnishment order. I received two out of the five payment to fulfil the debt, but then they stopped as the guy quit his job and moved elsewhere. I just recovered only my court costs in that case. Was it worth it? At least I got to play the psych-game with him.