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Small Claims Court to Allow Big Claims

Small Claims Court to Allow Big Claims

The Alberta Court of Justice, formerly known as the Provincial Court of Alberta (Alberta’s small claims Court) has recently announced an increase in its claims limit.

Starting from August 1, 2023, Plaintiffs in Alberta will be able to file civil claims with a value of up to $100,000 in the small claims Court. This is a significant increase from the previous limit of $50,000, which was set in 2014. The new limit was announced by the Alberta government after it amended the Provincial Court Act in December 2022 to allow for claims of up to $200,000 to be filed in the Court. The government consulted with Alberta’s three courts, the Law Society of Alberta, and other organizations in the legal community before deciding on the $100,000 limit.

Benefits of the Increase

The increase in claims limit offers several significant benefits, both for individuals and businesses. Firstly, this means that more cases can be heard at the lower Court, providing an affordable and accessible alternative to higher Courts.

Secondly, the increase will help reduce the backlog of cases in the higher courts, particularly the Court of King’s Bench. With more cases being heard at the lower Court, the higher Courts will be able to focus on more complex cases, allowing them to be resolved more quickly and efficiently. As such, plaintiffs who seek a faster and simpler way to resolve their disputes, will benefit from the lower Court’s more streamlined procedures, shorter timelines and lower fees compared to the Court of King’s Bench.

Furthermore, the increase in claims limit reflects a broader trend towards increasing access to justice in Alberta, and thereby ensures that more people and businesses have access to the legal system and that disputes are resolved in a timely and efficient manner.

The new limit applies only to small claims filed on or after August 1, 2023, and may not affect claims under some statutes that have their own limits.

If you are considering whether to file a small claim in the Alberta Court of Justice or a claim in the Court of King’s Bench, please contact Cynthia Okafor, a member of Swainson Miki Peskett’s Litigation Team, to provide you with the guidance you need to determine the most appropriate court to commence your action.

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Material in this article is available for informational purposes only and is a high level summary of the subject matter. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice. You should first obtain professional legal advice prior to taking any action on the basis of any information contained in this article. This article is copy righted. For permission to reproduce this article, please email Swainson Miki Peskett LLP.