Beginning on June 1, civil claims in B.C. that are under $5,000 will be resolved through an online judgement.
Since last July, the Civil Resolution Tribunal has been ruling on strata claims through this method and it will now become mandatory for most small claims that include issues around contracts, debts, and personal injury.
The jurisdiction of the Provincial Court’s Small Claims Division will also be increased from $25,000 to $35,000. The change is intended to resolve issues quicker, with less complexity and cost.
Tony Wilson, an Adjunct Professor for the Simon Fraser University law school, said it could also clear up a backlog of lesser small claims in provincial court, which could free up more time for Provincial Court judges.
“It strikes me that this is also an access to justice issue. Many people may be intimidated with the court process, even small claims court. Lawyers are too expensive for small claims court (arguably, even $25,000 claims). Litigants may feel more comfortable doing it this way as supposed to taking a day or more off work to go to court”
For those who don’t have access to the internet, mail and telephone services will be available.