What is a simplified trial?
At the courthouse in Richmond, all claims up to $5,000 – except financial debt claims under Rule 9.2 and personal injury claims – go to a simplified trial.
Who decides the case and how long does it take?
A justice of the peace (an experienced lawyer), who can also be called an adjudicator, will hear your case in a one-hour simplified trial. In most cases, you can expect the adjudicator to deliver his or her decision at the end of the trial. If you do not get a decision right away, the adjudicator has 30 days from the end of the trial to deliver one.
What happens at a simplified trial?
At the beginning of the simplified trial, the adjudicator will ask you to take an oath or affirm that you will tell the truth. You or your lawyer will be asked to state the facts related to the claim, file any documents on which you rely, and respond to the other party. The adjudicator may ask you questions, ask you to swear to the truth of your trial statement, permit witnesses, and allow you or your lawyer to ask the other party questions.
How do I prepare for the simplified trial?
The Robson Square court registry will send you a blank Trial Statement (Form 33) and a notice showing the date of your trial. The Trial Statement Form summarizes your case and you must file it at the court registry at least 14 days before the simplified trial. You must also serve a copy to on the other party at least seven days before the simplified trial. Refer to Supreme Court Rule 4 for the process for serving a document. You can use the Serving Documents Checklist to ensure you serve your documents correctly.
To complete your trial statement, follow the directions on the form. You must attach a statement of facts in date order, a calculation of the amount claimed, copies of relevant documents, and a list of witnesses you intend to call with a brief summary of what each witness will say.
Before the simplified trial the adjudicator will review the trial statements filed by you and the other party.
If you need an interpreter you must provide your own accredited interpreter. This can be arranged through the Society of Translators and Interpreters. You must pay all interpreting fees yourself (with the exception of a sign language interpreter) unless the court rules in your favour and directs that your court costs be paid by the other party. However, even if the court does order this, you will still need to pay all interpreting fees in advance. You would be reimbursed for this expense later. If you need more information about interpreters, visit the Court Services Branch’s website.
What happens if I need to change the date set for the simplified trial?
The first step is to ask the other party to agree in writing to the change. If he or she agrees, you can file a consent order, with his or her written consent, at the registry.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with the other party, you may file an Application to the Registrar (Form 16) to the registry at least seven days before the date set for trial. The application must explain the reason you want to change the date and that you asked the other party to consent. If the application is granted by the registrar, a new date will be set for your simplified trial.
What happens if one of the parties does not attend the simplified trial?
If you are the claimant, your claim may be dismissed. If you are the defendant, a payment order may be made against you.
The justice of the peace must complete a Verification of Default (Form 31) and give it to the parties attending in order to obtain a dismissal or default judgment. If neither party attends, the registrar will make an order dismissing each disputed claim.
For more information, see Small Claims Rule 9.1 or contact:
Richmond Court Services
Telephone: 604-660-6900 Fax: 604-660-1797