Calgary Small Claims Court Lawyer
What is Considered a Small Claim in Alberta?
Alberta Provincial Court, also known as “Small Claims Court” can handle certain civil actions where the amount claimed is equal to or less than $50,000.00. Many litigants chose to bring their actions in Provincial Court as opposed to the Court of Queen’s Bench, as the process is much more straightforward and cost-effective and is largely designed for self-represented parties. The Provincial Court of Alberta does not have jurisdiction to hear every type of civil matter. However, some of the most common types of small claims are:
- Damage to Property Claims
- Breach of Contract Claims
- Wrongful Dismissal Claims
- Debt Recovery and Collection Claims
- Personal Injury Claims
- Claims for the Return of Personal Property (Replevin)
- Claims for Amounts Owing for Goods and Services
How do I File a Lawsuit in Alberta Small Claims Court?
A party can commence a lawsuit in Provincial Court by filing and serving a Civil Claim along with a blank copy of the Dispute Note (defence) on the other party. The template for a Civil Claim can be found on the Provincial Court of Alberta Website. The party commencing the lawsuit must serve the opposing party with the Civil Claim within one year of the filing date.
Once the opposing party has been served with the Civil Claim, they have 20 days to file and serve the Dispute Note on the party commencing the action.
Will my Small Claims Matter Go All the Way to Trial?
The majority of small claims settle before reaching trial. The Provincial Court process is set up to facilitate an alternative resolution of claims through a specialized “triage” process. All claims where a dispute note is also filed, are first reviewed by a mediation service to determine whether they are appropriate for mediation.
If the claim has either proceeded to mediation and was unsuccessful, or if it is determined that the claim is not appropriate for mediation, the matter is then screened by a Judge to determine which resolution track will be assigned to the action. In Alberta, there are four potential resolution tracks:
- Binding Judicial Dispute Resolution
- Pre-Trial Conference
- Simplified Trial
- Regular Trial
Although the Court process is already designed to triage different matters, litigants are strongly encouraged to try and settle their matters outside of Court. A matter can be settled at any time during the process, right up until the day of trial.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Small Court Claim in Alberta?
Navigating any sort of court action, even one designed to be “simplified” can seem complicated and intimidating. Therefore, it is often a good idea to hire a lawyer, even if it is just on a limited or as-needed basis. At West Legal, we are committed to providing cost-effective and flexible solutions to our clients.
This means that we will work with you to find the type of representation that is best suited to your particular situation, whether it is legal representation from start to finish, or providing legal services on a limited scope basis, such as simply drafting a claim or defence on your behalf.
Have Questions About Your Small Claims Matter?