Provincial Small Claims Court Pilot
Provincial small claims court processes at the Vancouver Robson Square and Richmond small claims courts changed in 2007. As part of a pilot project, all claims filed at the Robson Square court registry are now handled as outlined below. Claims up to $5,000 filed at the Richmond court registry (except personal injury) use the simplified trial process. These changes form part of a joint justice reform initiative of the Provincial Court and the provincial government.
Simplified trials for claims up to $5,000 – Robson Square and Richmond Rule 9.1
A simplified trial is a one-hour streamlined trial before an experienced lawyer who is a justice of the peace, and also is called an adjudicator. At Robson Square, all claims up to $5,000, except financial debt claims under Rule 9.2 (see below) and personal injury claims, are set for simplified trials during the evening. At Richmond, all claims up to $5,000 (except personal injury) are set for simplified trials during business hours.
Each party must file a trial statement (form 33) at the registry at least 14 days before the simplified trial and serve it on each of the other parties at least seven (7) days before the simplified trial. The trial statement must include a statement of facts in date order (the order in which the events occurred), a calculation of the amount claimed, copies of the relevant documents, and a list of witnesses with a brief summary of what each witness will say.
Summary trial for financial debt – Robson Square Rule 9.2
A summary trial is a half-hour streamlined trial before a judge for financial debt claims. All financial debt claims at Robson Square are set for summary trials. Financial debt claims are those where the claimant is in the business of lending money or extending credit. The debt must arise from a loan or extension of credit in the course of that business.
Each party must file any contracts, statements of account, proofs of payment or other documents on which they rely at least 14 days before the summary trial and serve copies on each of the other parties at least seven (7) days before the summary trial.
Mediation of claims for more than $5,000 – Robson Square Rule 7.4
Funding of the Rule 7.4 mediation stream will be discontinued, resulting in the closure of the program as of May 1, 2016. The Small Claims Rules, B.C. Reg 261/93 are amended pursuant to Order in Council 244/2015. Effective January 1, 2016, Robson Square will no longer refer cases to the Court Mediation Program for mediation under Rule 7.4 except as follows:
- Cases that have already been scheduled for mediation, and whereby notice of mediation can be served by the registry on or before February 1, 2016, will continue to be heard until April 30, 2016.
- Cases scheduled for mediation before April 30, 2016, that do not proceed will only be re-set for mediation where it can be accommodated within the existing Program. Otherwise, the case will be scheduled for a Settlement Conference under Rule 7.
Commencing May 1, 2016, Settlement Conferences will be scheduled for all cases that previously qualified for mediation in accordance with Small Claims Rule 7.
At Robson Square all cases above $5,000 and up to $25,000, except for financial debt claims under Rule 9.2, and all personal injury cases are referred to a two-hour mediation session. Mediators will be assigned at no cost to the parties by MediateBC.
For personal injury cases, Rule 7.4 provides that the certificate of readiness and independent medical examination provisions apply to mediations.
Trial conference – Robson Square Rule 7.5
A trial conference is a half-hour conference with a judge that takes place before a case proceeds to trial at Robson Square. A trial conference is held for cases exempted from mediation or that are not settled at mediation.
Each party must file a trial statement (form 33) at the registry 14 days before the trial conference and serve it on each of the other parties seven (7) days before the trial conference. The trial statement must include a statement of facts in date order (the order in which the events occurred), a calculation of the amount claimed, copies of relevant documents, and a list of witnesses with a brief summary of what each witness will say.
At the trial conference, a judge will review the claim and determine the amount of time required for trial. The judge may also make other orders for the hearing of the trial, decide on any issues that do not require evidence, dismiss claims which are without reasonable grounds or an abuse of the court’s process, or give a non-binding opinion on the probable outcome of the trial.
For more information refer to the Small Claims Rules, or contact the Robson Square small claims court registry
Telephone: 604 660-8989 Facsimile (fax): 604 660-7095
the Richmond small claims court registry
Telephone: 604 660-6549 Facsimile (fax): 604 660-1797