Changes to the Saskatchewan’s Small Claims Court – January 1, 2018

McKercher LLP Civil Litigation

The procedure in Saskatchewan’s Small Claims Court will undergo some significant changes as of January 1, 2018, when The Small Claims Act, 2016 comes into force. The expected changes to the procedure include:

  • Judges will have the discretion to set a date for a First Appearance prior to a Case Management Conference or Trial if they think that the First Appearance would be beneficial to one or more parties to the action, and if the first appearance will not cause any party unreasonable hardship.
  • Plaintiffs will be required to serve a copy of the Summons at least 30 days before the date of the First Appearance, Case Management Conference, or Trial. This is an increase from 10 days under the current legislation.
  • At a First Appearance, a judge can give judgment in the absence of hearing any evidence, and has the power to make any order a judge could otherwise make at a Case Management Conference.
  • Defendants will be required to file a Reply to a Summons at least 10 days prior to the First Appearance, Case Management Conference, or Trial.
  • Defendants will be permitted to serve documents via e-mail or regular mail.
  • Judges will enjoy a wider discretion to order costs against parties to an action.
  • Judges will be able to hold a party in contempt of court if that party fails to obey a Court order or behaves in a disorderly, disobedient, or disruptive manner before the Court.

These amendments follow the recent increase of the limit for monetary claims in Small Claims Court from $20,000 to $30,000.

These changes appear to be designed to promote more structure and fairness in the Small Claims process. Seeking legal advice prior to commencing or defending a Small Claims action can help ensure you are abiding by the procedural rules and are more likely to achieve a satisfactory result.

About the Author:

Katherine is an associate lawyer in the Regina office.

About McKercher LLP:

McKercher LLP is one of Saskatchewan’s oldest, largest law firms with offices in Saskatoon and Regina. Our deep roots and client-first philosophy have made our firm rank in the top 5 in Saskatchewan by Canadian Lawyer magazine (2017). Integrity, experience and capacity provide innovative solutions for our clients’ diverse legal issues and complex business transactions.

This post is for information purposes only and should not be taken as legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances.  Counsel should be consulted concerning your own situation and any specific legal questions you may have.