Significant changes to the BC Small Claims Court procedures and jurisdiction, designed to improve British Columbians’ access to the courts, came into effect September 1, 2005.
The Court’s jurisdiction over monetary claims has been increased to $25,000 from $10,000, where it had been set since 1991. The new limit does not include interest or expenses claimed. Transitional provisions allow persons who initiated claims or counterclaims before September 1, 2005, to claim up to the full limit, even if they had previously abandoned part of their claim.
The Court will continue to provide free, optional mediation services for claims less than $10,000 at designated registries (currently Vancouver, Surrey, North Vancouver, Nanaimo and Victoria). For claims between $10,000 and $25,000, either party to a claim may require the other party, through a Notice to Mediate, to attend a mediation session in an attempt to resolve the dispute. A user-fee will apply to mediations initiated in this manner.