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Common Questions

How do I know which court to go to?

Last reviewed April 2022 by the Clicklaw Editors

Good starting points to help you choose include:

  • Provincial Court of British Columbia, has resources that self-represented litigants can use to support themselves in court. The Provincial Court is the first level of court in the province and hears the majority of criminal cases, including those involving youth. It also hears most small claims cases between $5001 and $35,000, traffic cases, and some family matters.
  • Supreme Court BC - Online Help Guide, from the Justice Education Society, provides an overview of civil, family and criminal matters. The Supreme Court hears civil cases over $35,000, family law cases involving divorce and custody, as well as serious criminal cases
  • Court of Appeal BC - Online Help Guide, from the Justice Education Society, provides an overview of civil, family, and criminal matters. The Court of Appeal is the highest court in BC and hears appeals from the Supreme Court, from the Provincial Court on some criminal matters, and reviews and appeals from some administrative boards and tribunals.
  • Court Orders, from Legal Aid BC, has a section called "Get an order in BC". It includes an information page called "Do You Need to Go to Provincial (Family) Court or Supreme Court?", with a chart about what each court handles. 

Need more help?

  • Justice Access Centres, 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.
  • Before you decide to go to court, you may want to ask for an advice from a lawyer. Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono, offers a free, brief initial consultation with a lawyer to determine your legal needs. If you would like further help from your lawyer, you can retain them at an agreeable rate of charge.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

going to court, choosing a court, BC court system