Small Claims: mediation or arbitration for resolving disputes

  • February 1, 2024
  • Justice
Two wooden blocks, each depicting a person, are placed under another block depicting a handshake.

Do you have a Small Claims file? Under certain conditions, you may be eligible for mediation or arbitration.

Small Claims settlement

The Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec is commonly called "Small Claims Court." This court hears admissible applications where the amount in dispute is $15,000 or less, concerning:

Unlike the Small Claims trial, which is public, mediation or arbitration is private, at a location agreed by the parties or virtually. Often, this single session, which is free of charge, makes it possible to avoid a formal trial before a judge. This speeds up and simplifies resolution of the dispute.


In mediation, the two parties attempt to settle the dispute amicably. A neutral mediator appointed by the courthouse moderates the exchanges:

Throughout Quebec, Small Claims mediation is offered on a voluntary basis for cases over $5,000. If you opt for mediation before going to court, your case can be given priority.

In some judicial districts, mediation is mandatory for cases of $5,000 or less.

Mandatory mediation in Small Claims cases is gradually being introduced across Québec. As of February 1, 2024, it will be in force in the judicial districts of Laval, Longueuil, Richelieu and Saint-Hyacinthe. Québec will be added on March 1, 2024.

When mediation is mandatory, you must attend unless you have been exempted. If you fail to show up, you may have to pay damages. The case will automatically be transferred to arbitration or trial. 


Arbitration replaces the trial. A neutral arbitrator appointed by the courthouse moderates the session:

Arbitration is never compulsory. You may refuse to take part within 30 days of being summoned. It will then be up to the judge to decide your case.

Any questions or problems?

To find out more about Small Claims arbitration or mediation, visit

Are you dissatisfied with the quality of the services you receive? Use these recourses to lodge a complaint against:

Please note! The above appeal mechanisms cannot be used to overturn a decision stemming from legal proceedings.