Claims up to $5,000 in Provincial Court

Does Provincial Court deal with claims under $5001 in any way?

The Civil Resolution Tribunal Act requires that disputes within the CRT’s authority, called “Tribunal Small Claims”, must go through the CRT process. However, a claim for under $5001 may come to Provincial Court in certain circumstances. For a overview of the pathways to Provincial Court see this flowchart.

Claims under $5,001 may come to Provincial Court :

When the CRT refuses to resolve the claim
When a party applies to Provincial Court to be exempted from the CRT
When a party files a notice of objection
For enforcement of CRT orders

When the CRT refuses to resolve a claim
The CRT can refuse to resolve a claim within its jurisdiction for several reasons, including that the claim:

  • is too complex or otherwise impractical for the CRT to manage or resolve
  • doesn’t disclose a reasonable claim or is an abuse of process
  • has been resolved through a legally binding process
  • involves a constitutional question or conflict between the Human Rights Code and another law
  • or when the CRT is satisfied a Provincial Court Judge would grant an application for exemption if one were made.

section 11(1) CRT Act

When a party applies to Provincial Court to be exempted from the CRT
You may apply to Provincial Court for exemption from the CRT process and a judge may order the CRT not to facilitate or adjudicate a claim if:

  • the CRT doesn’t have jurisdiction (legal authority), or
  • it is not in the interests of justice and fairness for the CRT to facilitate or adjudicate the claim.

You must file an application for exemption in Provincial Court within 14 days after a response is made in the CRT. The CRT Act sets out factors a judge may consider.

sections 12.1 CRT, Rule 16.1, Small Claims Rules

When a party files a notice of objection
In adjudicated matters
If you are not satisfied with a CRT adjudicator’s decision you can file a notice of objection with the CRT within 28 days after you receive the decision. When that happens, the CRT final decision is not binding and it’s not enforceable.

But if you or the other party wants to pursue your claim or counterclaim in court, you can then file a Notice of CRT Claim in the Provincial Court and serve (deliver it to) the other party. The documents filed in the CRT become the pleadings (the documents setting out the claim and reply) in Provincial Court, and you will have a trial conference, if necessary followed by a trial, in Provincial Court.

sections 56.1 and 56.2 CRT Act, Rules 1.1(8), 7(2.2) and 7.5(1), Small Claims Rules

In “default” matters
In cases where a defendant didn’t file a response in the CRT but did file a Notice of Objection to the CRT decision in Provincial Court, there will be a settlement conference in Provincial Court, followed by a trial, if necessary. A settlement conference is held since the parties didn’t participate in the dispute resolution process at the CRT.

Rules 1.1 (20)-(25), 7(2), Small Claims Rules

Enforcement of CRT orders
Both negotiated consent orders and final decisions of the CRT can be filed in the Provincial Court for enforcement. Once filed, a CRT order has the same force as a Provincial Court judgment, and can be enforced using the same procedures. The Court enforces Residential Tenancy Branch orders in a similar way.

section 58.1 CRT Act

This website provides general information only and should not be used as legal advice.

Updated or reviewed April 2019