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This Act has "Not in Force" sections. See the Table of Legislative Changes.

Small Claims Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 430

Contents
Part 1 — Definitions, Purpose and Claims
1Definitions
2Purpose
3Claims the court may hear
4Making or defending a claim
Part 2 — Appeal
5Right of appeal
6Time limit for appeal
7Notice of appeal
8Deposit
9Suspension of proceedings
10Date of hearing
11Service of notice
12Hearing of appeal
13Decision
14Recording of appeal
15Variations of time
Part 3 — Evidence, Procedure and Administration
16Evidence
17Directions of Chief Judge
18Forms
19Costs
20Registrars
21Power to make regulations

Part 1 — Definitions, Purpose and Claims

Definitions

1  In this Act:

"Chief Judge" means the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court;

"claim" includes a counterclaim made by a defendant against a claimant;

"costs" means the fees, charges and expenses that are listed in the rules;

"Provincial Court" means the Provincial Court of British Columbia;

"proceeding" means an application, claim or other matter;

"rules" means the Small Claims Rules prescribed under the Court Rules Act.

Purpose

2  (1) The purpose of this Act and the rules is to allow people who bring claims to the Provincial Court to have them resolved and to have enforcement proceedings concluded in a just, speedy, inexpensive and simple manner.

(2) Subject to this Act and the rules, in conducting a hearing the Provincial Court may make any order or give any direction it thinks necessary to achieve the purpose of this Act and the rules.

Claims the court may hear

3  (1) The Provincial Court has jurisdiction in a claim for

(a) debt or damages,

(b) recovery of personal property,

(c) specific performance of an agreement relating to personal property or services, or

(d) relief from opposing claims to personal property

if the amount claimed or the value of the personal property or services is equal to or less than an amount that is prescribed by regulation, excluding interest and costs.

(2) The Provincial Court does not have jurisdiction in a claim for libel, slander or malicious prosecution.

Making or defending a claim

4  The rules contain the procedure to be followed in making or defending a claim or in enforcing an order of the Provincial Court on a claim.

Part 2 — Appeal

Right of appeal

5  (1) Any party to a proceeding under this Act may appeal to the Supreme Court an order to allow or dismiss a claim if that order was made by a Provincial Court judge after a trial.

(2) No appeal lies from any order of the Provincial Court made in a proceeding under this Act other than an order referred to in subsection (1).

Time limit for appeal

6  An appeal must be started within 40 days, beginning on the day after the order of the Provincial Court is made.

Notice of appeal

7  (1) A person starts an appeal by filing a notice of appeal in the registry of the Supreme Court that is nearest to the court where the order being appealed was made.

(2) On the day the notice of appeal is filed in the registry of the Supreme Court, the appellant must file a copy of the notice of appeal in the registry of the Provincial Court where the order being appealed was made.

Deposit

8  (1) When the notice of appeal is filed, the appellant must deposit $200 with a registrar of the Supreme Court as security for costs that the court may order the appellant to pay if that person loses the appeal.

(2) If the order under appeal requires the appellant to pay a sum of money, the appellant must deposit that sum with the security for costs.

(3) Before depositing the amount required under this section, the appellant may apply to the Supreme Court to reduce that amount.

(4) The application must be filed in the registry of the Supreme Court within the time limit for starting the appeal.

(5) The appellant is not required to serve notice of the application on any person.

(6) The Supreme Court may by order reduce the amount an appellant is required to deposit under this section, and, if the amount is reduced, the appellant must serve notice of the order on the other parties to the appeal.

Suspension of proceedings

9  (1) When the appellant deposits the amount required under section 8 (1) and the amount, if any, required under section 8 (2) or deposits the amount the Supreme Court orders under section 8 (6), the order under appeal and any proceeding to enforce the order are suspended.

(2) On application by a party to the appeal, the Supreme Court may order that the order under appeal or a proceeding to enforce that order is not suspended and may attach conditions to the order.

Date of hearing

10  (1) On filing a notice of appeal, the appellant must apply to a registrar of the Supreme Court to set a date for hearing the appeal.

(2) The hearing date set by the registrar must be at least 21 days after the date of the application to set the hearing date.

Service of notice

11  (1) The appellant must serve the notice of appeal and notice of the hearing date on each person who was a party to the proceeding in which the order under appeal was made, but need not serve notice on a person who is not affected by what the appellant requests of the Supreme Court in the appeal.

(2) The notice of appeal must be served not later than 7 days after the notice of appeal was filed in the registry of the Supreme Court.

(3) The notice of hearing must be served not later than 7 days after the date of the application to set the hearing date.

(4) The appellant must file in the registry of the Supreme Court an affidavit stating when, where, how, by whom and on whom the notice of appeal and notice of the hearing date were served.

Hearing of appeal

12  An appeal to the Supreme Court under this Act

(a) may be brought to review the order under appeal on questions of fact and on questions of law, and

(b) must not be heard as a new trial unless the Supreme Court orders that the appeal be heard in that court as a new trial.

Decision

13  (1) On an appeal, the Supreme Court may do one or more of the following:

(a) make any order that could be made by the Provincial Court;

(b) impose reasonable terms and conditions in an order;

(c) make any additional order that it considers just;

(d) by order award costs to any party to the appeal in accordance with the Supreme Court Rules.

(2) There is no appeal from an order made by the Supreme Court under this section.

Recording of appeal

14  (1) After the Supreme Court decides the appeal, a registrar of the Supreme Court must record the order and send a copy of the recorded order to a registrar of the Provincial Court for filing.

(2) After a copy of the recorded order is filed in the Provincial Court, all subsequent proceedings must be in that court unless the Supreme Court orders otherwise.

Variations of time

15  (1) On application, a judge of the Supreme Court may by order shorten or extend the time for doing anything under this Part.

(2) A time limit may be extended even if the application for the extension, or the order granting it, is made after the time limit has expired.

Part 3 — Evidence, Procedure and Administration

Evidence

16  (1) The Provincial Court may admit as evidence in a proceeding under this Act or the rules any oral or written testimony, record or other thing that the court considers is credible or trustworthy and is relevant to the matter being heard, even though the testimony, record or other thing is not admissible as evidence in any other court under the laws of evidence.

(2) The Provincial Court may not admit as evidence in a proceeding under this Act or the rules anything that is privileged under the laws of evidence.

Directions of Chief Judge

17  (1) The Chief Judge may give directions, consistent with the rules, respecting matters of practice and procedure in the Provincial Court.

(2) In accordance with the directions of the Chief Judge, a registrar of the Provincial Court may give a direction respecting the practice or procedure to be followed by the parties in a proceeding under this Act or the rules.

Forms

18  After consulting with the Chief Judge, the Attorney General may authorize forms for use in the Provincial Court on any matter or proceeding under this Act or the rules for which forms are not prescribed under the Court Rules Act.

Costs

19  (1) The Provincial Court may determine, in accordance with the rules, the amount of costs that are payable by one party in a proceeding under this Act or the rules to another party in the proceeding or it may direct a registrar of the court to determine the amount.

(2) If a registrar of the Provincial Court determines the amount of costs, any party to the proceeding may ask the court to review the registrar's decision on costs.

(3) If the rules provide for a reasonable fee, charge or other expense, the Provincial Court or a registrar of the court may determine what amount is reasonable.

(4) The Provincial Court must not order that one party in a proceeding under this Act or the rules pay counsel or solicitor's fees to another party to the proceeding.

Registrars

20  (1) The Attorney General may appoint a person to be a registrar of the Provincial Court for a designated area of British Columbia.

(2) The registrar is an officer of the Provincial Court and has, in respect of that court, all the powers and duties of a registrar of the Supreme Court.

(3) After consulting with the Chief Judge, the Attorney General may, by regulation, add to or change the powers and duties of a registrar of the Provincial Court.

Power to make regulations

21  (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing an amount, of not more than $50 000, for the purposes of section 3.

(3) For the purposes of a pilot project, a regulation under subsection (2) may prescribe another amount that, for a prescribed period of time, applies in respect of a prescribed registry of the Provincial Court.