Lesson 10: Problem-Solving Courts

Topic 3: Small Claims Night Court

The Court’s major initiative in civil justice is currently being used at Robson Square and Richmond. The following apply to night court:

  • Senior civil or arbitration lawyers will determine matters between $0-$5,000 in an expedited, arbitration-like process.
  • These claims will be heard by an experienced lawyer who is also a Justice of the Peace.
  • In Vancouver, the “night court,” is held on one evening a week from 5:00-9:00 pm for one hour.
  • In Richmond, these simplified trials will be held during the day.
  • All institutional debt claims between $5,000-$25,000 (claims like credit card debt) will be diverted to a separate track which will be heard and determined by judges in a summary process without a settlement conference.
  • All other claims between $5,000-$25,000 will be mediated by trained and qualified mediators provided through the Dispute Resolution Practicum Society, relieving judges of the requirement to conduct settlement conferences. Those cases which are not resolved by the mediators will come before a judge for the purpose of a pre-trial conference to focus and narrow the issues for trial.
  • For cases which do not settle in mediation and have a conference, a judge could make orders on any number of trial matters such as length of trial, trial procedures and expert reports. The trial itself would follow the conference.