What is a summary trial?
Small Claims cases go to summary trial if the claimant’s legal matter involves loaning money or extending credit (i.e. credit card debt, overdue loans and overdraft). The claim must be between $5001 and $35,000. This type of trial is only available at the Robson Square Registry. Claims may only be filed at the court registry nearest where the defendant lives, carries on business, or where the transaction took place.
Who decides the case and how long does it take?
Judges decide summary trials. They usually take fewer than 30 minutes to complete. Summary trials do not have to follow the same formal rules of procedure and evidence as regular trials do.
What happens at a summary trial?
At the summary trial, the judge may ask you to explain your case, respond to the other party and call witnesses. You will be asked to take an oath or to affirm that you will tell the truth before giving your evidence.
At the end of the trial, the judge will make a payment order, dismiss the claim or order that the claim be sent to mediation or a trial conference.
How do I prepare for a summary trial?
The Robson Square court registry in Vancouver will send you a notice showing the date of your summary trial. At least 14 days before the summary trial, you must file at the court registry any contracts, statements of account, proofs of payment or other documents which you will use to support your case. At least seven days before the summary trial, you must serve a copy of the documents on 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 of the summary trial?
If you cannot make the date set for your summary trial, you can request to have the date changed. 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) with the registry at least seven days before the date set for the summary 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 summary trial.
What happens if one of the parties does not attend the summary trial?
If you are the claimant, your claim may be dismissed. If you are the defendant or person defending against the claim of financial debit, a payment order may be made against you.
The judge 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 on the process for financial debt, see Small Claims Rule 9.2 or contact:
Vancouver - Robson Square Small Claims Court Registry
Telephone: 604-660-8989 Fax: 604-660-7095
Is this information available in any other languages?
To learn more about summary trials in Vancouver, select your language below: