Small Claims Court vs. Supreme Court

Choosing Where to Sue

Clients often have options in choosing a court in which to bring their lawsuit. When choosing between Provincial Small Claims Court or the BC Supreme Court, the first thing to know is that claims over $25,000 cannot be brought in Small Claims Court. The monetary limit of Small Claims Court, however, is not the only factor which affects the choice of venue.

The next step is to look at what it is you are suing for. Some matters, such as estates disputes must be brought in the Supreme Court while many commercial and corporate disputes can be brought in either court. Disputes within the jurisdiction of both Small Claims Court and the Supreme Court can include:

  • Corporate and commercial disputes
  • Construction litigation such as disputes over defects, delay or nonpayment
  • Contractual disputes
  • Torts such as negligence or breach of fiduciary duty
  • Real estate disputes

While claims involving this subject matter may be brought in either court, the solutions that a court can grant are not the same in each court. For this reason, it is important to look at the client's objectives in order to determine which court will facilitate the client's goals and allow for the desired outcome. For example, in Small Claims Court the availability of injunctions is restricted and remedies that affect title or an interest in land are unavailable.

Clients will often have the option of choosing between bringing their action in Small Claims Court or the Supreme Court. Our Surrey trial lawyers look at specific concerns and goals of our clients to determine which court provides a process that can best help them reach their goals. There are benefits and drawbacks to suing in each court, and your uniquely desired outcomes will inform which court our lawyers recommend. Visit our Benefits of Small Claims Court and Benefits of the Supreme Court pages for a discussion on these benefits and drawbacks.

Contact our Surrey trial lawyers for a frank discussion of your legal options at 800-675-2419 or 604-634-2308, or book a consultation online.