Introduction to Creditors' Remedies (10:I)

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There are legal remedies available to creditors to enforce a debt, but the related procedures are frequently time-consuming and potentially costly, and there is no guarantee that the creditor will actually receive all of the funds owed. The most important reason for starting civil proceedings to collect a debt is to permit the creditor to execute on their judgment. Such execution proceedings may include:

  1. examinations in aid of execution (to determine the debtor’s ability to pay the debt);
  2. subpoena to debtor hearing (to obtain a court order compelling the debtor to make payments on the judgment);
  3. garnishment (to compel third parties to pay funds into court to the credit of the judgment rather than pay those funds to the debtor. See "Garnishment"); and
  4. collection by execution (to lodge a writ of execution with the bailiff who will then seize and sell the debtor’s assets and pay proceeds to the credit of the judgment).

A judgment may also be filed on the title of real property owned by the debtor and will remain on the title of that property for two years unless it is renewed, discharged (by the debt being paid or bankruptcy), or the creditor commences proceedings to sell the property and apply the proceeds of the sale against the debt.

Depending on the amount claimed, the matter will fall under the jurisdiction of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (under $5,000), Small Claims Court ($5,001 to $35,000) or the Supreme Court of British Columbia (above $35,000). Most of this chapter relates to the Supreme Court of British Columbia process. However, similar principles apply to Small Claims Court.

The Small Claims Court provides a detailed guide for creditors on enforcement procedures available under the Small Claims Court processes. See Finally, the Civil Resolutions Tribunal is designed for self-represented litigants and has rules generally preventing legal professionals from representing litigants in tribunal claims. Therefore, LSLAP rarely represents clients with Civil Resolution Tribunal claims..

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on July 15, 2019.
© Copyright 2021, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.