What is Small Claims Court?
Small Claims Court is a division of BC’s Provincial Court. It is for most disputes about debts or damages involving less than $25,000 (with some exceptions). This limit will be increased to $35,000 in June – see below.
The process is generally simpler and faster than the Supreme Court of BC, and is designed for people to use with or without a lawyer.
Changes coming June 1st
From June 1, 2017, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) will begin resolving small claims disputes up to $5,000. This will be combined with an increase to $35,000 in the BC Provincial Court’s jurisdiction for small claims cases.
This is the first phase of implementing the CRT’s small claims jurisdiction and using the CRT will be mandatory for most claims up to $5,000. See the official announcement from the Ministry of Justice here.
Update from Provincial Court
See this update from BC Provincial Court on the important changes to Small Claims Court. It covers where the Provincial Court will still have a role in claims $5000 or less, after June 1st, what you can do if you are not satisfied with a CRT adjudicator’s decision, and much more.
More about the CRT
- The Civil Resolution Tribunal is Canada’s first online tribunal for resolving strata and small claims disputes.
- Right now, the CRT is accepting strata property disputes for intake. Soon, it will begin to accept small claims disputes as well. It offers new ways to resolve your legal issues in a timely and cost-effective manner.
- The CRT encourages a collaborative, problem-solving approach to dispute resolution, rather than the traditional courtroom model. The CRT aims to provide timely access to justice, built around your life and your needs. It does this by providing legal information, self-help tools, and dispute resolution services to help solve your problem, as early as possible.
- You can use the CRT 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from a computer or mobile device that has an internet connection.
- Your interaction with the other participant and/or the CRT can be done when it is convenient for you.
- Telephone and mail services will also be available for those who can’t access the internet.
The tribunal has been resolving strata disputes since July 2016, encouraging collaborative agreements and making binding decisions when people cannot agree. Once filed, a Tribunal order has the same force and effect as an order of the Supreme Court of BC.
We’ll be posting more information about the CRT and changes to small claims, as it becomes available. Stay tuned.