Big News About Small Claims

March 2017

Civil Resolution Tribunal.  As of June 1, 2017, with just a few exceptions, civil claims of up to $5,000 will no longer be heard and decided by the B.C. Provincial Court (Small Claims Court).  Instead, they will be resolved through British Columbia’s new online tribunal, the Civil Resolution Tribunal.  This will be mandatory.

More information about this important change and the Civil Resolution Tribunal can be found here.

Monetary Jurisdiction of Small Claims Court.  At the same time, the monetary jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court will be increasing to $35,000.  It is currently $25,000.  A person who has a claim in excess of the Court’s monetary jurisdiction, not including interest and expenses, will continue to have the option of abandoning part of the claim so that the balance can be heard by the Court.

The Small Claims Court will continue to have the jurisdiction to hear cases involving claims for debt, damage, recovery of personal property and specific performance of agreements.  The Court does not have the power to grant relief or remedies in relation to an interest in land, personal property security, bankruptcies, trademarks, wills and estates, libel and slander, malicious prosecution, residential tenancy (although the Court can enforce orders of the Residential Tenancy Branch) and almost all builders’ lien matters.  In addition, the Court cannot hear cases against the federal government.