How Small Claims Proceed (20:VIII)

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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. Vancouver (Robson Square)[edit]

1. Claims of $5,000 or Less[edit]

Where the claim andcounterclaim, if any, are each $5,000 or less (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.

2. 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; 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.

3. Claims Exceeding $5,000 or Personal Injury Claims (Any Amount)[edit]

If the claim exceeds $5,000 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 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 section XII.

B. Richmond[edit]

1. Claims of $5,000 or Less[edit]

Where the claim and counterclaim, if any, are each $5,000 or less (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 $5,000 or Personal Injury Claims (Any Amount)[edit]

If the claim exceeds $5,000 or is for personal injury in any amount, a Settlement Conference will be scheduled pursuant to Rule 7.

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.

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

1. Claims of $1 0,000 or Less[edit]

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.

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 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.

D. Other Registries[edit]

1. Claims of $1 0,000 or Less[edit]

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 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 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.