Canadian News Headlines – Monetary limit for small claims court increases to $20,000, province says – New Brunswick

Canadian news headlines

The monetary limit for small claims court has jumped to $20,000 from $12,500, the province announced on Friday.

Robert Duguay, a spokesperson for the department of justice and public safety, said this will allow more files to be addressed under the Small Claims Act, instead of going through the Court of Queen’s Bench. 

“According to the needs and the situation in court they [province] felt that this will help … make the process simpler and less costly,” he said.

Small claims matters are heard by adjudicators across the province and deals with legal action for debt, damages or recovery of personal property for claims not exceeding a limited monetary amount.

Michael Marin, an assistant professor in the faculty of law at the University of New Brunswick, agreed this will help reduce the backlog at the Court of Queen’s Bench and make the court system a lot more efficient. But only if there’s enough resources available in small claims court. 

“If there aren’t enough adjudicators or resources to resolve the small claims, that could potentially be a problem,” he said. 

“The government needs to make sure to understand what kind of increased volume it’s going to have because of the change and just make sure there’s enough adjudicators and resources available.” 

Lighter load for Court of Queen’s Bench

Before the increase, Marin said people typically represented themselves at the Court of Queen’s Bench, which he describes as “very onerous with a lot of detailed rules that apply.”

Meanwhile, adjudicators in the small claims court are a lot more “flexible” in helping parties to reach a settlement in resolving a dispute.  

“They’re [adjudicators] not bound by complex rules of evidence and procedure,” he said.

“That process makes way more sense when you have claims that are worth less money, where people aren’t going to be represented by lawyers, where they need a decision fairly quickly.”

Duguay said the previous change in the monetary limit was back in 2013 when it was increased to $12,500 from $6,000.

“It’s just a normal adjustment process based with the time,” said Duguay. 



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