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B.C. Reg. 261/93
O.C. 1030/93
Deposited July 30, 1993
effective October 1, 1993

Court Rules Act; Small Claims Act

Small Claims Rules

Note: Check the Cumulative Regulation Bulletin 2014
for any non-consolidated amendments to this regulation that may be in effect.

[includes amendments up to B.C. Reg. 27/2013, March 18, 2013]

Point in Time

Introduction

   The purpose of these rules is to make it as easy as possible for people to use the court to resolve their disputes. If necessary, there will be a trial and a judge or a justice of the peace will decide the claim. However, both sides are encouraged to try to come to an agreement. A settlement is always possible, even after a judge or a justice of the peace has made a decision.

[am. B.C. Reg. 360/2007, s. 1.]

Definitions

   In these rules:

"claimant" means the person who is making the claim;

"court" means the Provincial Court of British Columbia;

"creditor" means a person to whom, by order of the court, a debtor must pay money;

"debtor" means a person who, by order of the court, must pay money to a creditor;

"defendant" means the person against whom the claim is made.

Rule 1 — Making a Claim

Completing a notice of claim

(1)To make a claim, a person must complete a notice of claim (Form 1) following the instructions on the form.

Filing a notice of claim

(2)A claimant must file a notice of claim and pay the required fee at the Small Claims Registry nearest to where

(a) the defendant lives or carries on business, or

(b) the transaction or event that resulted in the claim took place.

If the defendant is a company

(2.1)If the defendant is a company within the meaning of the Business Corporations Act, the claimant must file with the notice of claim a printout of a search showing the most recent address of the registered office of the company on file with the Registrar of Companies.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 1; am. B.C. Reg. 428/2004, s. 1.]

If the defendant is a society

(2.2)If the defendant is a society incorporated under the Society Act, the claimant must file with the notice of claim a printout of a search showing the most recent address of the society on file with the Registrar of Companies.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 1.]

If a claimant wants to claim against more than one defendant

(3)A claimant may name more than one defendant in a notice of claim, but only if the claim against each defendant is related to or connected with the original subject matter of the claim.

If the claim is for more than $25 000

(4)A claimant who has a claim amounting to more than $25 000, not including interest and expenses, may abandon part of the claim so that the balance of the claim may be heard in the court.

[am. B.C. Reg. 179/2005, s. (b).]

Litigation guardian needs Public Guardian and Trustee's consent

(4.1)A person (litigation guardian) who makes a claim for personal injury on behalf of someone who is under 19 years of age or under another legal disability may abandon part of the claim under subrule (4), but only with the consent of the Public Guardian and Trustee.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 1; am. B.C. Reg. 172/2003, s. 1.]

Abandoning part of a claim

(5)To abandon part of a claim, a claimant must say on the notice of claim that the amount over $25 000 is abandoned.

[am. B.C. Reg. 179/2005, s. (b).]

The effect of abandoning part of a claim

(6)Subject to subrule (7), a claimant who abandons part of a claim may not at any time sue for that part, unless the whole of the claim is withdrawn under Rule 4 (9) and then pursued in the Supreme Court.

[am. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 1.]

Effect of transfer on abandonment

(7)If a claim is transferred to the Supreme Court under Rule 7.1, the claimant may sue for the whole amount to which the claimant may be entitled whether or not part of the claim was abandoned in the Provincial Court.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 1.]

Rule 2 — Serving a Notice of Claim

Who must be served?

(1)The claimant must serve each defendant named in the notice of claim with

(a) the defendant's copy of the notice, and

(b) a blank reply form (Form 2).

How to serve an individual

(2)If the defendant is an individual, the notice of claim must be served by

(a) leaving a copy of it with the defendant, or

(b) mailing a copy of it by registered mail to the defendant.

[am. B.C. Reg. 188/99, s. 1.]

How to serve a company

(3)If the defendant is a company within the meaning of the Business Corporations Act, the notice of claim must be served,

(a) if the company has a registered office,

(i)   by delivering a copy of the notice of claim to the delivery address shown for that registered office in the office of the Registrar of Companies, or

(ii)   by mailing a copy of the notice of claim by registered mail to the mailing address shown for that registered office in the office of the Registrar of Companies,

(b) if the company's registered office has been eliminated, in the manner ordered by the court, or

(c) in either case, by leaving a copy of the notice of claim

(i)   at the place of business of the company, with a receptionist or a person who appears to manage or control the company's business there, or

(ii)   with a director, officer, liquidator, trustee in bankruptcy or receiver manager of the company.

[en. B.C. Reg. 428/2004, s. 2.]

How to serve an extraprovincial company

(4)If the defendant is an extraprovincial company within the meaning of the Business Corporations Act, the notice of claim must be served

(a) by delivering a copy of it to the delivery address shown for the head office of the extraprovincial company in the office of the Registrar of Companies if that head office is in British Columbia,

(b) by mailing a copy of it by registered mail to the mailing address shown for the head office of the extraprovincial company in the office of the Registrar of Companies if that head office is in British Columbia,

(c) by mailing a copy of it by registered mail to the mailing address shown in the office of the Registrar of Companies for any attorney appointed for the extraprovincial company under Division 2 of Part 11 of the Business Corporations Act,

(d) by leaving a copy of it with the attorney, or

(e) if no attorney has been appointed, by following subrule (3) (c).

[en. B.C. Reg. 428/2004, s. 2.]

How to serve a partnership

(5)If the defendant is a partnership, the notice of claim must be served by mailing a copy of it by registered mail to a partner, or by leaving a copy of it

(a) with a partner,

(b) at a place of business of the partnership, with a person who appears to manage or control the partnership business there, or

(c) with a receptionist who works at a place of business of the partnership.

[am. B.C. Reg. 188/99, s. 1.]

Other service rules — see Rule 18

(6)The provisions in Rule 18 apply if

(a) the defendant is a municipality, a person under 19, a society, an extraprovincial society, or an unincorporated association including a trade union,

(b) the claimant needs to serve the notice of claim on a person outside British Columbia, or

(c) the claimant is having difficulty serving the defendant.

[am. B.C. Reg. 188/99, s. 1.]

Time limit for service

(7)If a notice of claim has not been served within 12 months after it was filed it expires, but the claimant may apply to have it renewed (see Rule 16 (3)).

Rule 3 — Replying to a Claim

What are a defendant's options?

(1)A defendant who receives a notice of claim may do any one or more of the following:

(a) pay the amount claimed directly to the claimant and ask the claimant to withdraw the claim (see Rule 8);

(b) admit all or part of the claim;

(c) admit all or part of the claim and propose a payment schedule (see Rule 11 (4));

(d) oppose all or part of the claim by listing reasons why the claim is opposed;

(e) make a counterclaim against the claimant (see Rule 4).

[am. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 2.]

How does a defendant reply?

(2)To do anything set out in subrule (1) (b) to (e), a defendant must complete a reply (Form 2) following the instructions on the form.

Where does a defendant file a reply?

(3)A defendant must file a reply at the registry where the notice of claim was filed and, except where the defendant has agreed to pay all of the claim, pay the required fee.

Time limit for replying

(4)If a notice of claim is served on a defendant, the reply must be filed

(a) within 14 days after service if the defendant was served in British Columbia or within 30 days after service if the defendant was served outside British Columbia, and

(b) before the registrar has made a default order or set a date for a hearing.

How a reply is served

(5)Within 21 days after a reply is filed, the registrar must serve a copy on each of the other parties.

How an admission is accepted

(6)If a defendant admits in a reply all or part of the claim, the claimant may accept the admission in full settlement of the claim, interest and expenses by filing, before the settlement conference, mediation session or trial conference, a payment order in the same terms as the admission.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 2; am. B.C. Reg. 360/2007, s. 2.]

Rule 4 — Making a Claim Against a Claimant

Making a counterclaim

(1)A defendant may make a counterclaim against the claimant in the reply (Form 2) by

(a) following the instructions on the form, and

(b) paying the required fee.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 3.]

When a counterclaim is served

(2)A counterclaim is served on a claimant when a copy of the reply containing the counterclaim is served under Rule 3 (5).

What are the claimant's options?

(3)A claimant who is served with a reply containing a counterclaim may do one or more of the following:

(a) pay the amount of the counterclaim directly to the defendant and ask the defendant to withdraw the counterclaim;

(b) admit all or part of the counterclaim;

(c) admit all or part of the counterclaim and propose a payment schedule (see Rule 11 (4));

(d) oppose all or part of the counterclaim by listing reasons why the counterclaim is opposed.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 4.]

How a claimant replies

(3.1)To do anything set out in subrule (3) (b) to (d), a claimant must

(a) complete a reply (Form 2) following the instructions on the form,

(b) within 14 days after being served with the counterclaim, file the reply in the registry where the notice of claim was filed, and

(c) pay the required fee unless the claimant has agreed to pay all of the counterclaim.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 4.]

How an admission is accepted

(3.2)If a claimant admits in a reply all or part of a counterclaim, the defendant may accept the admission in full settlement of the counterclaim, interest and expenses by filing, before the settlement conference, mediation session or trial conference, a payment order in the same terms as the admission.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 4; am. B.C. Reg. 360/2007, s. 2.]

If a counterclaim is for more than $25 000

(4)A defendant who has a counterclaim amounting to more than $25 000, not including interest and expenses, may

(a) abandon part of the counterclaim so it may be heard in the court, or

(b) begin an action in the Supreme Court.

[am. B.C. Reg. 179/2005, s. (b).]

How to abandon part of a counterclaim

(5)To abandon part of a counterclaim, the defendant must say on the counterclaim part of the reply that the amount over $25 000 is abandoned.

[am. B.C. Reg. 179/2005, s. (b).]

The effect of abandoning part of a counterclaim

(6)A defendant who abandons part of a counterclaim may not at any time sue for that part.

If a defendant begins a Supreme Court action

(7)A defendant who begins an action in the Supreme Court against a claimant may apply to a Provincial Court judge for an order changing the date of the small claims trial (see Rule 16 (7)).

If the small claims trial is held first

(8)If the small claims trial is held and a payment order or other order is made against the defendant, the judge may order the claimant not to take any action to enforce the order

(a) until a date set by the judge, or

(b) until a decision is given by the Supreme Court on the defendant's action,

whichever comes first.

If a claimant has already abandoned part of a claim

(9)If a defendant begins an action in the Supreme Court against a claimant who has abandoned part of a claim under Rule 1 (5), the claimant may withdraw the claim from the Provincial Court and

(a) begin an action in the Supreme Court and claim the higher amount, or

(b) participate in the action begun by the defendant in the Supreme Court and claim the higher amount.

Rule 5 — Third Parties

If a defendant thinks someone else should pay the claim

(1)If a defendant who has filed a reply thinks another person should pay all or part of the claim, the defendant may make a claim against the other person by

(a) completing a third party notice (Form 3), following the instructions on the form if a settlement conference has not been held, or

(b) applying to a judge for an order permitting a claim to be made against the other person if a settlement conference, mediation session or trial conference has been held (see Rule 16 (7)).

[am. B.C. Reg. 360/2007, s. 3 (a).]

Filing a third party notice

(2)The defendant must file a third party notice at the registry where the notice of claim was filed and pay the required fee.

[am. B.C. Reg. 146/98, s. 1.]

If the third party is a company

(2.1)If the third party is a company within the meaning of the Business Corporations Act, the defendant must file with the third party notice a printout of a search showing the mailing address that is shown for the company's registered office in the office of the Registrar of Companies.

[en. B.C. Reg. 428/2004, s. 3.]

If the third party is a society

(2.2)If the third party is a society incorporated under the Society Act, the defendant must file with the third party notice a printout of a search showing the most recent address of the society on file with the Registrar of Companies.

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 5.]

What documents must be served on the third party?

(3)The defendant must serve the person named as the third party with the following:

(a) a copy of the third party notice;

(b) a blank reply form;

(c) a copy of the notice of claim;

(d) a copy of the reply to the notice of claim;

(e) a copy of the notice of settlement conference, mediation session, trial conference or trial, if one has been issued.

[am. B.C. Regs. 148/97, s. 5; 360/2007, s. 3 (b).]

How to serve the third party

(4)The defendant must serve the documents referred to in subrule (3) on the third party in the same way as required for service of a notice of claim (see Rule 2).

Filing a certificate of service

(5)Within 30 days after filing a third party notice, the defendant must file a certificate of service (Form 4) at the registry to prove that the documents have been served as required, unless the third party has filed a reply.

[am. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 5.]

If a certificate of service is not filed within 30 days

(5.1)If a certificate of service is not filed in accordance with subrule (5), the third party notice expires but the defendant may apply to have it renewed (see Rule 16 (3)).

[en. B.C. Reg. 148/97, s. 5.]

Notifying the other parties

(6)The registrar must serve a copy of the third party notice on each of the other parties within 21 days after it is filed.

How a third party replies

(7)To reply to a third party notice, the person named as a third party must follow the rules for replying to a claim (see Rule 3).

What a judge may do

(8)If a third party has been named, a judge may make an order between any of the parties.

Another settlement conference must be held

(9)If a third party files a reply after a settlement conference or trial conference another settlement conference or trial conference must be held, unless a judge orders otherwise.

[am. B.C. Reg. 360/2007, s. 3 (c).]

Contents  |  Rules 1 to 5  |  Rules 6 to 10.1  |  Rules 11 to 15  |  Rules 16 to 22  |  Schedule A  |  Schedule B  |  Schedules C, D and E