How to Stop A Claim That Has Already Been Issued

It’s possible that once you’ve started a claim, you’ll decide not to continue with it. If you have started a claim and want to end it, you can do so by sending a “notice of discontinuance” to the court and the other party (form N279).

It’s a simple form to fill out, and once submitted to the court, a judge will review it. Unless there is a compelling reason to the contrary, judges will usually allow this. In addition to the court, you should send it to the defendant.

However, there is one word of caution: if you decide to stop, you should proceed with caution because there may be financial ramifications. There is no guarantee because judges have a lot of leeway in deciding what costs to order. There is a risk if a claimant discontinues, and the timing of the cessation is critical.

Rules About Discontinuing A Claim 

The Civil Procedure Regulations include rules regarding discontinuance. It’s important to read the following rules:

Rule 38.6 (1) “Unless the court orders otherwise, a claimant who discontinues is liable for the costs which a defendant against whom the claimant discontinues incurred on or before the date on which notice of discontinuance was served on the defendant”

Essentially,  if you discontinue your claim,  you automatically become liable to pay the other side’s legal costs incurred, up to the point of service of the notice.

Rule 38.6(4) adds that the rule above does not apply to claims allocated to the small claims track.

Has your claim already been allocated to the small claims track? If so, the automatic rule about paying the other side’s costs does not apply.

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