When you are faced with a legal problem, try and settle the claim. Remember, settling a claim involves compromise on both sides.
If a compromise cannot be reached, you can go to court and have a judge decide the legal issue.
Generally speaking, there are two levels of courts that deal with legal disputes:
The Provincial Court Small Claims Division and The Supreme Court of British Columbia
There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
The advantages of small claims court include:
- a relatively short time to wait for a trial (about 8 months);
- shorter trials (usually half a day);
- relatively low costs; and
- a mandatory settlement conference in front of a judge to try to settle the case.
The main disadvantage is that a judge cannot award more than $25,000.
The advantages of the Supreme Court of British Columbia include
- No monetary limit on what you can claim;
- Rules that provide for wider access to documents controlled by the other side; and
- Your right (in most cases) to have the matter heard by a jury
The main disadvantages are:
- A long wait for a trial date (up to 2 years)
- Longer trials (usually 3 to 7 days in length)
- Higher costs
Remember, before you decide WHERE to start a lawsuit, you must know WHEN to start a lawsuit. There are strict time limits and if you miss the time limit, you lose your right to sue. Don’t hesitate to consult a lawyer.