Common Questions

What's the difference between Small Claims Court and the Supreme Court of BC?

Small Claims Court and the Supreme Court of BC both handle general civil law matters. There are several differences between these two courts.

Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court is for most disputes about debts or damages involving less than $35,000 (with some exceptions). The process is generally simpler and faster than the Supreme Court of BC, and is designed for people to use without a lawyer.

Note: On June 1, 2017, the limit for small claims increased to $35,000 from $25,000. The Civil Resolution Tribunal now accepts small claims disputes up to $5,000. See the Provincial Court's resource, Important Changes to Small Claims Court for more information.

To learn more about Small Claims Court, good starting points include: 

  • Small Claims BC  website from Justice Education Society includes information, videos and personalized free legal help through online chat and phone support
  • What is Small Claims Court? , a website from the Ministry of Justice, gives a basic explanation of small claims court process
  • What is Small Claims Court?, a Dial-a-Law script from the Canadian Bar Association of BC, provides an overview of the process and the types of cases that can be heard in Small Claims Court.

Supreme Court of British Columbia
The Supreme Court of BC is for disputes over $35,000, with some exceptions. The court process for the Supreme Court of BC is more complicated than Small Claims Court and often takes longer. 

The Supreme Court of BC also hears appeals from the Provincial Court, including Small Claims Court, and some administrative tribunals.

To learn more about the Supreme Court of BC, good starting points include:

  • Supreme Court of BC, a website from Justice Education Society, provides an overview of the court, as well as links to self-help materials.
  • Courts of BC , also from Justice Education Society, provides an overview of all of the courts of BC.

Small Claims Court or Fast Track Litigation in Supreme Court from Justice Education Society of BC provides more information about your options.

Choosing a court for your case can be complicated and it’s a good idea to get legal advice. Use Clicklaw’s HelpMap to find legal help in your community.

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Last reviewed July 2018

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