Current Projects

Access to Courts and Court Processes

As a follow up to its 2012 Issue Paper on Access to Justice, the Commission is examining ways in which court processes can be more accessible. In particular, the Commission is looking at: (1) improvements to The Court of Queen’s Bench Small Claims Practices Act; and (2) increasing the monetary limits under section 47(1) of The Court of Queen’s Bench Surrogate Practices Act.

Small Claims Court has jurisdiction over all claims which do not exceed $10,000, which may include general damages up to $2,000. This monetary limit has remained unchanged since 2007 and is one of the lowest in Canada. The Commission will consider the need to update The Court of Queen’s Bench Small Claims Practices Act by increasing the monetary jurisdiction and will also examine other possible amendments in connection with an increase in the monetary limit for small claims, namely: whether to increase the general damages limit; changes to improve the substantive jurisdiction of small claims; who should adjudicate small claims; pre-trial settlement and mediation processes; and costs.

Section 47(1) of The Court of Queen’s Bench Surrogate Practices Act allows the court to dispense with probate or administration in estates with a value of $10,000 or less. The procedure under this provision is more streamlined and less costly than the ordinary procedure for dealing with the administration of estates. The Commission will study whether the Legislature should increase the monetary limit under section 47(1) in order to increase the availability of a more affordable and efficient process for those dealing with small estates.