Overview

Last Reviewed: June, 2021 Reviewed by: JES Contributors

There are many steps in the BC Small Claims Court process. Cases start when a Notice of Claim is filed and then take a series of steps before a trial. Sometimes the process doesn’t end at the trial and you may need to enforce a court order or appeal a decision. 

The steps outlined below provide an overview of the BC Small Claims Court process. It is important to note that not all cases go through each step. The process may vary, depending on if a settlement is reached, the process may also vary depending on the court location and type of case. To see specifics see Trial Process

The BC Small Claims Court Process:

1

STEP
File Notice of Claim

The claimant, the one starting the claim, fills out a Notice of Claim form and files it at a court registry. See Notice of Claim.

2

STEP
Serve Defendant

After filing the claimant must give a copy of the Notice of Claim to the defendant, the one being sued. This is called serving documents. See Serving Documents.

3

STEP
Defendant Files a Reply

After receiving the Notice of Claim the defendant must reply by filling out and filing a Reply to the Claim form. The Registry will send a copy of the reply to the claimant. See Reply to a Claim.

4

STEP
Mediation (if requested)

Under Rule 7.3, one party can compel the other party to attend a mediation for claims between $10,000 and $35,000. See Mediation.

5

STEP
Settlement Conference (most cases)

The registry will set a settlement conference date and inform the defendant and the claimant. At the Settlement Conference the claimant and the defendant sit down together with a judge to explore ways to settle their case. See Settlement Conference.

6

STEP
Trial Conference (some cases)

If the case is not settled, the registry can set a trial conference date. Trial conferences are usually held only if your trial will take more than one day (or half a day in some courthouses) or if your claim started in the Civil Resolution Tribunal. At the trial conference a judge reviews the claim and may make orders for the hearing of the trial. See Trial Conference.

7

STEP
Trial

Each party is given an opportunity to present their case before a judge, calling witnesses and making legal arguments. See Trial Process.

8

STEP
Filing your Order

The judge will state their decision in the case. This is called an order. It is the responsibility of the parties to record it in writing and file it with the courts. See Court Orders.

9

STEP
Enforce

If a defendant fails to honour an order or payment schedule, the claimant can take several different steps to enforce the judgment. See Enforcing Orders.

10

STEP
Appeal

If either the claimant or the defendant disagrees with the judge’s decision after trial, both parties have the right to appeal the decision to the BC Supreme Court. See Appeals.

Sometimes there are additional steps that you can go through before trial, such as getting a default order or application. For more details see Default Orders, and Applications.

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