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Common Questions

I'm trying to prepare a Supreme Court case

If your case is not a family or criminal law case, an excellent starting point is the Supreme Court Self-Help Guidebook series. Developed by the Justice Education Society, this series includes over 20 guidebooks written in plain language for those who are representing themselves in BC Supreme Court. The guidebooks fully incorporate the court rules that took effect in 2010, and include court forms with annotations explaining key parts of each form.

Getting started

As you get started with your case:

Most cases are started with a notice of civil claim, but some types of cases must be started with a document called a petition:

  • The guidebook Starting an Action by Notice of Civil Claim in Supreme Court provides information about how to start your lawsuit with a form called a notice of civil claim. This guidebook highlights the time limits* that apply, covers how to prepare, file, and serve your court documents, and features annotated forms.
  • Starting a Proceeding by Petition in Supreme Court covers whether to start your proceeding with a petition or a notice of civil claim, important time limits, and how to prepare, file, and serve your court documents. It includes an annotated petition and other forms.

Next steps

Next steps in your case may include starting the discovery process, choosing fast track litigation, preparing for a case planning conference, or preparing affidavit evidence:

  • The guidebook The Discovery Process in Supreme Court explains discovery, the process that you (and the other party) use to determine what happened in your case.
  • Fast Track Litigation in Supreme Court describes fast track litigation, which allows you to shorten the entire litigation process if the amount in issue is $100,000 or less or the trial can be completed within three days.
  • The Case Planning Conference describes the case planning conference, which brings the parties together early in the litigation to talk about how the case will proceed.
  • A Guide to Preparing Your Affidavit describes how to prepare an affidavit, which is a written statement used to present evidence to the court.

There are also guidebooks for bringing applications before the trial, resolving your case before trial, conducting the trial, drafting orders, and court costs.

As well, there are guidebooks for defending a lawsuit, both defending an action started by notice of civil claim and defending a proceeding started by petition.

Also see:

*Note that the new Limitation Act in BC came into force on June 1, 2013. The new Act simplifies the time limits for filing civil lawsuits with a basic two-year-from-discovery limitation period, which will apply to claims arising on or after June 1, 2013. See "Overview of the Limitation Act" from the BC Ministry of Justice for more information.

Need more help?

  • Justice Access Centre, from the provincial government, can help assess what you need, provide information about your legal and related issues and refer you to the services that are available for your situation.
  • Access Pro Bono Clinics, from Access Pro Bono Society of BC, provides free legal advice to persons who cannot obtain legal aid or afford a lawyer.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed March 2018

court rules, court forms, filling out court forms, starting a lawsuit, Supreme Court Self-Help Guidebook series