There are many things to consider when seeking to start or defend a civil litigation matter.
Before proceeding with a claim, we can assist you with having meaningful and productive communication with the other side. Through negotiation and open discussions, we may be able to resolve the matter before any material time and resources are invested. If there are roadblocks, we can work with you to issue a Demand letter, clearly outlining your positions and ensuring to provide the other side adequate time to review, in order to settle the matter and avoid the start of litigation.
In bringing forward a claim, section 3 of the Limitations Act is paramount to consider. A claim has to be filed 2 years from the date that the claimant discovers or ought to have discovered the injury attributable to the conduct of the defendant which warranted bringing a proceeding.
There are certain exceptions, but generally the two-year mark is a crucial point.
Court of Queen’s Bench Claims
If your Civil Claim is more than $50,000, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench is the right place for you to file your claim.
The Alberta Rules of Court govern practice and procedure in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and all persons who come before the Court for the resolution of a claim; whether the person is a self-represented litigant or is represented by a lawyer.
Filing fees for your claim at this level are $250 per claim.
Once your claim is filed, you have one year from the filing to serve the other party, which is done by serving the specified individual at their place of residence or through registered mail.
The other party has 20 days in served in Alberta and 30 days if served outside of Alberta in Canada. Courtesy is extended to the other party with any extension requests in order to ensure that they file a proper and complete document.
Once the pleadings have closed, you have to serve your Affidavit of Records (the relevant and material documents supporting your case) within three months of the filing of the Statement of the Defence, while the other party has two additional months to provide theirs. Again, common courtesy is encouraged by both sides in terms of any requests for extension in order to ensure that the records are complete.
This is the first part of the Discovery process. After the exchange of records, parties are expected to Attend Questioning in order to allow for oral inquiries on the information provided and allow for additional requests.
Since September 1, 2019, the mandatory suspension of the alternative dispute resolution [“ADR”] provisions or judicial dispute provisions [“JDR”] of the Alberta Rules of Court have been lifted, and parties are encouraged to seek these alternative options to trial as soon as able.
Throughout the entire litigation process, the parties should look to negotiate, collaborate and resolve and settle their matters. Trial could be the answer, but they also tie up a lot of time and resources, provide for uncertainty, and future bookings given the pandemic are uncertain.
For more information, please visit the Court of Queen’s Bench Website.
Provincial Court Claims
In Provincial Court Civil you can sue for an amount up to $50,000 plus interest and costs. This is the Court’s monetary jurisdiction.
Filing fees for claims up to and including $7,500, are $100 per claim, whereas anything above $7,500 is $200 per claim.
There are more options for service of these claims, and they may be made by:
Service may be made as follows:
- by personally leaving the documents with the Defendant at any location
- by leaving the documents for the Defendant at the Defendant’s most usual place of residence with someone residing there who is apparently 16 years of age or older; or
- by sending the documents by recorded mail addressed to the Defendant.
The time to respond to the claim follows the Court of Queen’s Bench timeframes, except in this case you are filing a Dispute Note.
After the Dispute Note is served, both parties will receive a Notice or letter sent to your address for service from the Court setting out the next step in the action.
The next steps may include Mediation, Pre-Trial Conference, Simplified Trial, Trial or an invitation to participate in a Binding Judicial Dispute Resolution.
For more information, please visit the Provincial Court of Alberta website.
Let our team assist in each step away in the process, whether it is through a Court of Queen’s Bench or a Provincial Court Action.
Our team specifically practices in the civil areas of:
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