In many cases, before a trial, parties may need the court to make a decision related to their case. You may need to change a court date because you are unable to make it, to shorten or extend a deadline, to ask to be allowed alternative service if you are struggling to serve someone, to cancel a default order or to change a payment schedule. To do so, you file an application, which basically means you ask for a decision from the court. An application can be made by either defendant or claimant.
Most applications will either be an:
- Application to the registrar without a hearing
- Application to a judge with or without hearing
Applications to the Registrar Without a Hearing
Some types of applications can be made to the registrar without a hearing, meaning you can simply file a form at the registry and they will decide whether to grant the request or not. These are usually applications where there is no need to give notice or serve the other party. This includes applications for “consent” orders, where both parties agree to the order. The registry cannot grant any type of application that is not listed in Rule 16(1) or (2). If what you want is not listed under this rule, you’ll likely need to make an application to a judge.
Applications without a hearing include:
- Renew a claim
- Change the date of a settlement conference
- Changing the applicant’s method of attendance at a conference or hearing, other than a trial, payment hearing or default hearing
- Permitting another method of service
- Permitting a hearing be by telephone
- All those listed in Rule 16(1) or (2)
Applications to a Judge
There are some types of applications which require you to appear in front of a judge. These usually require you to give notice to the other party. Rule 16(6) lists the types of applications that require a hearing.
Applications requiring a hearing include:
- Transferring the claim to BC Supreme Court
- Order for a medical examination
- Changing or cancelling the terms of a payment schedule
- Cancelling a default order
- Postponing or adjourning a trial
- All those listed in Rule 16(6)
A judge may make an order without hearing or notice to the other party for certain orders including:
- Changing a person’s method of appearance
- Extending or shortening a time limit
- Correcting an accidental slip or omission in an order
- Any other order that judge can make that does not require notice to the other party
However, a judge may require a hearing for an application about the above issues. If that happens the judge will direct you as to whether you need to serve the other party and how you are to attend (in person, video etc…).
You cannot get an order to change a person’s method of appearance at a trial, payment hearing, or default hearing by consent.
How to File an Application to a Judge
- Fill out BC Small Claims Court Form 17 and file it with the registry. The registry staff will tell you when the application hearing will take place.
- If your application requires you to give notice to the other party, you then must serve the filed application on the other party at least 7 days before the hearing date.
- You may file their supporting materials with the application or may file with supporting materials cover sheet (Form 39) at the registry 7 days before the hearing. You must also serve materials on the other party(ies) and people affected by the order 7 days before the hearing.
- Attend the hearing if a hearing is required. The judge will make a decision whether to grant your application or not.
How to Respond to an Application
If you are served with a notice of application and wish to respond, you must attend the hearing of the application. If you intend to rely on documents at the hearing, at least two business days before the date set for the hearing, you must:
- File at the registry any documents you intend to rely on at the hearing, with a supporting materials cover sheet (Form 39), and
- Serve the documents on each party that would be affected by the order requested and on each affected person.
For guidance take a look at our Sample Application to a Judge