Calgary Civil Litigation Lawyer
Helping You Navigate the Legal System
Litigation is often defined as the process of taking legal action against another party by suing for monetary compensation or for other types of damages such as specific performance of a contract. In Alberta, parties can commence a lawsuit by filing a Civil Claim in the Provincial Court of Alberta, or by filing a Statement of Claim in the Court of Queen’s Bench.
What is Civil Litigation?
Civil litigation is a legal dispute (other than criminal) between two or more parties. Parties to a civil action can include both individuals and corporations. In a civil dispute the suing party, who is called “the Plaintiff” will typically be seeking some type of damages (compensation) from the other party, who is called “The Defendant,” for some harm or loss that the Plaintiff has suffered. Remedies in civil litigation are almost always monetary.
What are some common types of Civil Cases?
How do I start a lawsuit in Alberta?
In Alberta, the way in which you commence a lawsuit is dependent on how much compensation you are seeking. If you are suing for $50,000.00 or less, your action can be commenced by filing a Civil Claim in the Provincial Court of Alberta. If you are seeking more than $50,000.00 you will need to commence your action by filing a Statement of Claim or in some cases an Originating Application, in the Court of Queen’s Bench.
How much does it cost to file a lawsuit in Alberta?
Filing a Civil Claim in Provincial Court costs $100.00 for claims valued at $7500.00 or less, and $200.00 for any claims valued over $7500.00.
The cost of filing a Statement of Claim or Originating Application in the Court of Queen’s Bench is $250.00, regardless of the amount you are suing for.
I’m on a budget. Can you help me prepare to file, or respond to a lawsuit as a self-represented litigant?
Yes! If you cannot afford a lawyer to represent you at trial, our firm can help you to prepare and file a claim or defence on a flat fee basis, and provide advice on how to navigate the court process.
Can I file a lawsuit at any time?
In Alberta, Civil Claims are subject to legislation called the Limitations Act. Pursuant to the Act, all Civil Claims must be commenced within two years of when the suing party knew or ought to have known that the damage occurred. Calculating limitation periods in some cases can be tricky. It is a good idea to get the advice of a lawyer regarding any limitation issues and to discuss how to preserve your right to sue.
How long will it take for my lawsuit to get to trial?
In the Provincial Court of Alberta, we are seeing trial dates being set approximately one year after the action commences. In the Court of Queen’s Bench, actions usually take a minimum of two years to get to trial.
Are most lawsuits resolved before heading to trial?
Yes. Either party has the option to settle the action outside of court, right up until the date of trial. In addition, actions filed in both levels of court usually go through at least one court-mandated process such as a Pre-Trial Conference, Judicial Dispute Resolution or Mediation, where a Judge or a neutral third party will try to facilitate settlement of the action before trial.
I’ve been sued. What happens if I don’t respond by the deadline?
In Alberta, you have twenty days to respond to a Civil Claim once it has been served upon you. If you do not respond, the other party may apply to the Court for a default judgment. A default judgement is a court order giving one side (usually the Plaintiff) an award against the other party, based on the fact that the other party to the lawsuit has failed to defend or respond to the claim against them. If you are worried about getting a default judgement against you, it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible about your options.
What happens if I lose a Civil Lawsuit?
In Civil Litigation, it is often the case that the losing party will be required to pay at least a portion of the successful party’s legal fees, over and above any other type of damages the Court may have awarded the winning party. Calculation of costs can be complicated, therefore, it is a good idea to be aware of what costs and consequences you may be facing before you decide to commence a Civil Claim.
Cost-Effective and Goal-Oriented Representation
Our experienced team will explore all available options in order to create a strategy that fits your particular case. We know lawsuits can get expensive, which is why we are committed to understanding and exploring the unique issues of each particular case, including the suitability of alternative dispute resolution or settlement.
We take the time to develop a litigation plan that works for you or your business while ensuring that your dispute is resolved in both a timely and cost-effective manner. Whether you just need a demand letter or require representation all the way to trial, we are committed to helping you make informed choices about your legal rights.
Creating Peace of Mind
If you have been served with a lawsuit, or are involved in a dispute and are thinking about suing, contact us today so that we can help you navigate the legal options available to you.