Difference between revisions of "How Small Claims Proceed (20:VIII)"

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{{REVIEWED LSLAP | date= August 6, 2021}}
 
{{LSLAP Manual TOC|expanded = smallclaims}}
 
{{LSLAP Manual TOC|expanded = smallclaims}}
  
A number of pilot projects have been implemented at some of the busier court registries. To anticipate how your claim will proceed and which rules will apply, find the court location where your claim will be heard and the heading that best describes your claim.  
+
A number of pilot projects have been implemented at some of the busier court registries. To anticipate how your claim will proceed and which rules will apply, find the court location where your claim will be heard and the heading that best describes your claim.
  
 
The length of time it will take to resolve a claim depends on:  
 
The length of time it will take to resolve a claim depends on:  
#how busy the court is (to find out how far ahead dates are being set at your location, ask at the court registry or the Judicial Case Manager);  
+
# how busy the court is (to find out how far ahead dates are being set at your location, ask at the court registry or the Judicial Case Manager);  
#how much time the trial is expected to take (a matter requiring a full day trial will often be scheduled later than a simpler matter);  
+
# how much time the trial is expected to take (a matter requiring a full day trial will often be scheduled later than a simpler matter);  
#whether the documents can be served without delay;   
+
# whether the documents can be served without delay;   
#whether the claim is disputed; and  
+
# whether the claim is disputed; and  
#the number of applications filed.  
+
# the number of applications filed.  
  
 
Complying with all of the court’s rules and orders will ensure that the claim is heard as soon as possible.
 
Complying with all of the court’s rules and orders will ensure that the claim is heard as soon as possible.
  
== A. Vancouver (Robson Square) ==
+
== A. Changes due to COVID-19 ==
  
=== 1. Claims of $5,001-$10,000 ===
+
Directions for in-person proceedings and filings for small claims court (i.e., claims above $5,000) have been significantly affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions the provincial court registry placed on the services provided and documents that could be filed were removed on July 13, 2020. As of the time of writing, the following protocols apply to appearances:
 +
 
 +
* In-person trials scheduled on or after July 3rd, 2020, have resumed.
 +
* Settlement conferences, trial conferences, and applications and payment hearings scheduled on or after July 3rd, 2020, are proceeding by audio or videoconference. As of May 25, 2021, the default for small claims trial conferences, settlement conferences, applications to a judge, and payment hearings, is by telephone or Teams audioconference or videoconference, unless a judge or judicial justice otherwise orders or directs. The default forms for small claims trials, including Rule 9.1 simplified trials and Rule 9.2 summary trials, and Rule 13 default hearings is in person unless a judge otherwise orders or directs (Provincial Court of BC website at https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/COVID19). For details about virtual conference and hearing, visit https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/COVID19-Conferences.
  
Where the claim and counterclaim, if any, are each $5,001 - $10,000 (not including interest or expenses) and are not for either personal injury  or financial debt, a simplified trial will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 9.1; except for the trial, no other court appearances are typically required. The trial will be held in the evening for one hour before a Justice of the Peace.  
+
Because of the fluid public health situation, the functioning of small claims proceedings is subject to ongoing change. For the latest updates, we recommend you contact the court registry or visit:https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/COVID19.
  
=== 2. Claims for Financial Debt ===
+
Conversely, the CRT is fully functional and remained so throughout the pandemic.
  
If the claimant or counterclaimant '''is in the business''' of lending money or extending credit and is suing for a debt that arises from a loan or the extension of credit, a summary trial will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 9.2; except for the trial, no other court appearances are typically required. The trial will be held before a judge and usually takes fewer than 30 minutes to complete.
+
== B. Vancouver (Robson Square) and Richmond Small Claims ==
  
=== 3. Claims Exceeding $10,000 or Personal Injury Claims (Any Amount) ===  
+
=== 1. Claims of $5,001-$10,000 ===
  
If the claim exceeds $10,000 or is for personal injury in any amount, the parties must attend mediation pursuant to Rule 7.4. Following  mediation, a trial conference will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 7.5. Trial conferences are described in greater detail in [[Settlement Conference (20:XI) | section XI]]. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10. For an explanation of trials and how to prepare for a trial, see [[Trial/Pre-Trial Conferences (20:XII) | section XII]].  
+
Where the claim and counterclaim, if any, are each $5,001 – $10,000 (not including interest or expenses) and are not for either personal injury or financial debt, a simplified trial will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 9.1 of the ''SCR''. The trial is conducted without complying with formal rules of procedure and evidence, but if the adjudicator (meaning a judge or a justice of the peace) deems it appropriate, the adjudicator may conduct the trial with a formal examination and cross-examination of parties and witnesses.  
  
== B. Richmond ==
+
Before the trial begins, an adjudicator will (a) review the documents filed by the parties; (b) determine whether the parties are able to settle the matter; and (c) if the parties are able to settle the matter, make a payment order or other appropriate order in the terms agreed to by the parties (''SCR'', Rule 9.1(21)).
  
=== 1. Claims of $5,001 - $10,000 ===
+
Except for the trial, no other court appearances are typically required. The trial will be held for one hour before an adjudicator. To learn who decides the case and how long it takes, visit http://www.smallclaimsbc.ca/trial/simplified-trial.
  
Where the claim and counterclaim, if any, are each $5,001 - $10,000 (not including interest or expenses) and are not for personal injury, a  simplified trial will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 9.1; except for the trial, no other court appearances are typically required. The trial will be held during the day for one hour before a Justice of the Peace.
+
=== 2. Claims Exceeding $10,000 ===
  
=== 2. Claims Exceeding $5,000 or Personal Injury Claims (Any Amount) ===
+
Any party to a proceeding where the amount of a claim, counterclaim, or third-party notice exceeds $10,000 may initiate Rule 7.3 of the ''SCR'' which is mediation. Following mediation or if mediation is not initiated, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10 of the ''SCR''.
  
If the claim exceeds $5,000 or is for personal injury in any amount, a Settlement Conference will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 7.4.
+
=== 3. Claims for Financial Debt ===
  
For claims greater than $10,000, either party may also initiate mediation pursuant to Rule 7.3. Following mediation or if mediation is not  initiated, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10.  
+
If the claimant or counterclaimant is in the business of lending money or extending credit and is suing for a debt that arises from a loan or the extension of credit, a summary trial will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 9.2 of the ''SCR''; except for the trial, no other court appearances are typically required. The trial will be held before a judge and usually takes fewer than 30 minutes to complete.
  
 
== C. Surrey, North Vancouver, Victoria, or Nanaimo ==
 
== C. Surrey, North Vancouver, Victoria, or Nanaimo ==
  
=== 1. Claims of $1 0,000 or Less ===
+
=== 1. Claims of $10,000 or Less ===
  
Rule 7.2 mediation applies automatically to some construction-related claims and can otherwise be commenced by a party. Following mediation or if mediation is not initiated, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10.
+
After a Notice of Claim is filed and the opposing party responds, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10 of the ''SCR''.
  
 
=== 2. Claims Exceeding $10,000 ===
 
=== 2. Claims Exceeding $10,000 ===
  
Any party to a proceeding where the amount of a claim, counterclaim, or third party notice exceeds $10,000 '''may''' initiate Rule 7.3 mediation. Following mediation or if mediation is not initiated, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10.  
+
Any party to a proceeding where the amount of a claim, counterclaim, or third-party notice exceeds $10,000 '''may''' initiate Rule 7.3 of the ''SCR'' which is mediation. Following mediation or if mediation is not initiated, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10 of the ''SCR''.
  
 
== D. Other Registries ==
 
== D. Other Registries ==
  
=== 1. Claims of $1 0,000 or Less ===
+
=== 1. Claims of $10,000 or Less ===
 +
 
 +
If the claim does not proceed by way of Simplified Trials (Rule 9.1) or if the claim does not proceed by way of Summary Trial for Financial Debt, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed (''SCR'', Rule 7(2)(b)). If the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed, the registrar will set the claim for trial.
 +
 
 +
All parties must attend the settlement conference and must be prepared. If a settlement conference cannot be conducted properly because a party is not prepared for it, a judge may order that unprepared party to pay the reasonable expenses of the other parties (SCR, Rule 7(4), (5) & (6)). At a settlement conference, a judge may: (a) mediate any disputed issues; (b) decide on issues that do not require evidence; (c) make a payment order or other appropriate order in the terms agreed by the parties; (d) order that the claim is set for trial conference; (e) set at trial date if a trial is necessary; (f) order a party disclose documents and records; (g) if damage to property is involved in the dispute, order a party to permit a person chosen by another party to examine the property damage; (h) dismiss any claims; and (i) make any other orders (''SCR'', Rule 7(14)).
 +
 
 +
The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10.
  
A settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is  disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10.
+
=== 2. Claims Between $10,000 and $35,000 ===
  
=== 2. Claims Exceeding $10,000 ===
+
Any party to a proceeding where the amount of a claim, counterclaim, or third party notice is between $10,000 and $35,000 may initiate Rule 7.3 of the ''SCR'' mediation by filing a “Notice to Mediate for Claims Between $10,000 and $35,000” (Form 29) and delivering a copy of that filed notice to every other party named on a notice of claim, reply or third party notice that has been filed in the proceeding.
  
Any party to a proceeding where the amount of a claim, counterclaim, or third party notice exceeds $10,000 '''may''' initiate Rule 7.3 mediation. Following mediation or if mediation is not initiated, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10.
+
If the parties do not reach an agreement at mediation on all issues, the registrar may set (a) a settlement conference (if a settlement conference has not been completed); (b) a trial (if a settlement conference has been completed); or (c) a trial conference (''SCR'', Rule 7.3(53)).  
  
== E. Civil Resolution Tribunal ($5000 or less) ==
+
== E. Civil Resolution Tribunal ($5,000 or less) ==
  
The Civil Resolution Tribunal is designed to facilitate dispute resolution in a way that is accessible, speedy, economical and flexible. It relies heavily on electronic communication tools. It focuses on resolution by agreement of the parties first, and by the Tribunal’s binding decisions if no agreement is reached.
+
The Civil Resolution Tribunal is designed to facilitate dispute resolution in a way that is accessible, fast, economical, and flexible. It relies heavily on electronic communication tools. It focuses on the resolution by agreement of the parties first, and by the tribunal’s binding decisions if no agreement is reached.
  
Adjudicators will decide most cases by reviewing the evidence and arguments submitted through the tribunal’s online tools. The adjudicator may order a telephone, video or face-to-face hearing if warranted by the circumstances. The tribunal can determine all matters relating to the tribunal decision process and if, at any time before or during the tribunal decision process, the tribunal decides that a dispute requires further facilitation, it can refer the dispute back to facilitation, and suspend the tribunal decision process until a facilitator refers the dispute back to the tribunal decision process.
+
Adjudicators will decide most cases by reviewing the evidence and arguments submitted through the tribunal’s online tools. Tribunal members may have their staff request additional evidence via email; however, this is rare. The tribunal member may order a telephone, video, or face-to-face hearing if warranted by the circumstances. Again, this is rare, and if parties seek such a hearing, they should request it during their case management. The tribunal can determine all matters relating to the tribunal decision process and, if at any time before or during the tribunal decision process, the tribunal decides that a dispute requires further facilitation, it can refer the dispute back to facilitation, and suspend the tribunal decision process until a facilitator refers the dispute back to the tribunal decision process.
  
 +
The tribunal member also has the authority to refuse to resolve the dispute on the basis of jurisdiction, or for reasons outlined in section 11 of the ''Civil Resolution Tribunal Act''.
  
 
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Latest revision as of 11:34, 12 August 2021

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 6, 2021.



A number of pilot projects have been implemented at some of the busier court registries. To anticipate how your claim will proceed and which rules will apply, find the court location where your claim will be heard and the heading that best describes your claim.

The length of time it will take to resolve a claim depends on:

  1. how busy the court is (to find out how far ahead dates are being set at your location, ask at the court registry or the Judicial Case Manager);
  2. how much time the trial is expected to take (a matter requiring a full day trial will often be scheduled later than a simpler matter);
  3. whether the documents can be served without delay;
  4. whether the claim is disputed; and
  5. the number of applications filed.

Complying with all of the court’s rules and orders will ensure that the claim is heard as soon as possible.

A. Changes due to COVID-19[edit]

Directions for in-person proceedings and filings for small claims court (i.e., claims above $5,000) have been significantly affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions the provincial court registry placed on the services provided and documents that could be filed were removed on July 13, 2020. As of the time of writing, the following protocols apply to appearances:

  • In-person trials scheduled on or after July 3rd, 2020, have resumed.
  • Settlement conferences, trial conferences, and applications and payment hearings scheduled on or after July 3rd, 2020, are proceeding by audio or videoconference. As of May 25, 2021, the default for small claims trial conferences, settlement conferences, applications to a judge, and payment hearings, is by telephone or Teams audioconference or videoconference, unless a judge or judicial justice otherwise orders or directs. The default forms for small claims trials, including Rule 9.1 simplified trials and Rule 9.2 summary trials, and Rule 13 default hearings is in person unless a judge otherwise orders or directs (Provincial Court of BC website at https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/COVID19). For details about virtual conference and hearing, visit https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/COVID19-Conferences.

Because of the fluid public health situation, the functioning of small claims proceedings is subject to ongoing change. For the latest updates, we recommend you contact the court registry or visit:https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/COVID19.

Conversely, the CRT is fully functional and remained so throughout the pandemic.

B. Vancouver (Robson Square) and Richmond Small Claims[edit]

1. Claims of $5,001-$10,000[edit]

Where the claim and counterclaim, if any, are each $5,001 – $10,000 (not including interest or expenses) and are not for either personal injury or financial debt, a simplified trial will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 9.1 of the SCR. The trial is conducted without complying with formal rules of procedure and evidence, but if the adjudicator (meaning a judge or a justice of the peace) deems it appropriate, the adjudicator may conduct the trial with a formal examination and cross-examination of parties and witnesses.

Before the trial begins, an adjudicator will (a) review the documents filed by the parties; (b) determine whether the parties are able to settle the matter; and (c) if the parties are able to settle the matter, make a payment order or other appropriate order in the terms agreed to by the parties (SCR, Rule 9.1(21)).

Except for the trial, no other court appearances are typically required. The trial will be held for one hour before an adjudicator. To learn who decides the case and how long it takes, visit http://www.smallclaimsbc.ca/trial/simplified-trial.

2. Claims Exceeding $10,000[edit]

Any party to a proceeding where the amount of a claim, counterclaim, or third-party notice exceeds $10,000 may initiate Rule 7.3 of the SCR which is mediation. Following mediation or if mediation is not initiated, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10 of the SCR.

3. Claims for Financial Debt[edit]

If the claimant or counterclaimant is in the business of lending money or extending credit and is suing for a debt that arises from a loan or the extension of credit, a summary trial will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 9.2 of the SCR; except for the trial, no other court appearances are typically required. The trial will be held before a judge and usually takes fewer than 30 minutes to complete.

C. Surrey, North Vancouver, Victoria, or Nanaimo[edit]

1. Claims of $10,000 or Less[edit]

After a Notice of Claim is filed and the opposing party responds, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10 of the SCR.

2. Claims Exceeding $10,000[edit]

Any party to a proceeding where the amount of a claim, counterclaim, or third-party notice exceeds $10,000 may initiate Rule 7.3 of the SCR which is mediation. Following mediation or if mediation is not initiated, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed. The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10 of the SCR.

D. Other Registries[edit]

1. Claims of $10,000 or Less[edit]

If the claim does not proceed by way of Simplified Trials (Rule 9.1) or if the claim does not proceed by way of Summary Trial for Financial Debt, a settlement conference will be scheduled unless the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed (SCR, Rule 7(2)(b)). If the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident where only liability for property damage is disputed, the registrar will set the claim for trial.

All parties must attend the settlement conference and must be prepared. If a settlement conference cannot be conducted properly because a party is not prepared for it, a judge may order that unprepared party to pay the reasonable expenses of the other parties (SCR, Rule 7(4), (5) & (6)). At a settlement conference, a judge may: (a) mediate any disputed issues; (b) decide on issues that do not require evidence; (c) make a payment order or other appropriate order in the terms agreed by the parties; (d) order that the claim is set for trial conference; (e) set at trial date if a trial is necessary; (f) order a party disclose documents and records; (g) if damage to property is involved in the dispute, order a party to permit a person chosen by another party to examine the property damage; (h) dismiss any claims; and (i) make any other orders (SCR, Rule 7(14)).

The final step is a trial pursuant to Rule 10.

2. Claims Between $10,000 and $35,000[edit]

Any party to a proceeding where the amount of a claim, counterclaim, or third party notice is between $10,000 and $35,000 may initiate Rule 7.3 of the SCR mediation by filing a “Notice to Mediate for Claims Between $10,000 and $35,000” (Form 29) and delivering a copy of that filed notice to every other party named on a notice of claim, reply or third party notice that has been filed in the proceeding.

If the parties do not reach an agreement at mediation on all issues, the registrar may set (a) a settlement conference (if a settlement conference has not been completed); (b) a trial (if a settlement conference has been completed); or (c) a trial conference (SCR, Rule 7.3(53)).

E. Civil Resolution Tribunal ($5,000 or less)[edit]

The Civil Resolution Tribunal is designed to facilitate dispute resolution in a way that is accessible, fast, economical, and flexible. It relies heavily on electronic communication tools. It focuses on the resolution by agreement of the parties first, and by the tribunal’s binding decisions if no agreement is reached.

Adjudicators will decide most cases by reviewing the evidence and arguments submitted through the tribunal’s online tools. Tribunal members may have their staff request additional evidence via email; however, this is rare. The tribunal member may order a telephone, video, or face-to-face hearing if warranted by the circumstances. Again, this is rare, and if parties seek such a hearing, they should request it during their case management. The tribunal can determine all matters relating to the tribunal decision process and, if at any time before or during the tribunal decision process, the tribunal decides that a dispute requires further facilitation, it can refer the dispute back to facilitation, and suspend the tribunal decision process until a facilitator refers the dispute back to the tribunal decision process.

The tribunal member also has the authority to refuse to resolve the dispute on the basis of jurisdiction, or for reasons outlined in section 11 of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act.

© Copyright 2021, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.