What types of dispute can you bring to Small Claims court?
Whether you can bring a case to Small Claims court in the Provincial Court of BC depends on the dollar value of the claim and its subject.
The BC Provincial Court’s Small Claims Court generally deals with cases involving from $5,001 to $35,000.
Claims for up to $5,000 must usually be taken to the online Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). In addition, many claims for up to $50,000 arising from motor vehicle accidents must be taken to the CRT. However, Provincial Court may deal with motor vehicle accident cases and cases under $5001 in certain circumstances.
Aside from cases that must be taken to the CRT, claims for more than $35,000 generally go to the BC Supreme Court. You can make a claim for more than $35,000 in Small Claims Court, but if you do you must abandon the amount over $35,000. A Provincial Court judge cannot award you more than $35,000 plus interest and expenses (although contractual interest may be included in the $35,000 limit). For more on this, see Can I bring a dispute for more than $35,000 to Small Claims Court?
Claims brought to Small Claims Court must involve:
- debt or damages
- recovery of personal property or opposing claims to person property
- performance of agreements about personal property or services.
Small Claims Court does not have the power to deal with:
- issues related to motor vehicle accidents (with some exceptions)
- the rights and obligations of strata owners, tenants, and strata corporations (though some orders in this regard may be enforced in Provincial Court)
- an interest in land
- personal property security
- wills and estates
- libel and slander
- malicious prosecution
- residential tenancy (though Residential Tenancy Branch orders may be enforced in Provincial Court)
- almost all builders' lien matters, and
- lawsuits against the federal government.
The procedures followed in Small Claims cases depend on the amount of money involved and the court location :
Some court proceedings may be conducted by telephone or videoconference using the Microsoft Teams platform. Current information on how different types of proceedings are being conducted can be found in Practice Directions and Notices to the Profession and the Public issued by the Chief Judge. Find guidance on how to appear remotely in a virtual conference or hearing at Attending Remotely.
This website provides general information only and should not be used as legal advice.
Updated September 21, 2021