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New Brunswick Small Claims Court

Year:
1999

Description:
Overview of the New Brunswick Small Claims Court.

Jurisdiction:
New Brunswick

Court:
Small Claims Court

Timeline:
February 1997: Small Claims Act assented to
January 1999: Small Claims Act came into force and Small Claims Court established
March 2009: Proposed elimination of the Court announced
June 2009: An act to repeal the Small Claims Actreceived royal assent

Publications:
Small Claims Act,External Link S.N.B. 1997, c. S-9.1.
Victor Boudreau, New Brunswick budget 2009-2010: Leadership for a stronger economy (Government of New Brunswick, 2009).
CBA-NB Branch CBA-NB opposes elimination of Small Claims CourtPDFExternal Link (March 16, 2009). [CBA Statement]
Yvon Gauvin, Law society official warns move will create further backlogs in courtExternal Link (Time & Transcript, March 14, 2009).
An Act to Repeal the Small Claims Act,PDFExternal Link 2009, c.28.
Adam Huras, Legal: Abolishing small claims system will completely clog Court of Queen’s Bench, chief justice saysExternal Link (Time & Transcript, March 10, 2010).
Don MacPherson, Proposed increase to small-claims limit to $30K has supporters and detractorsExternal Link (The Daily Gleaner, March 10, 2010).

Development:
The Small Claims Court of New Brunswick was established on January 1st, 1999. This court hears civil suits for debt or damages, return of personal property or a combination of those claims, where the value involved does not exceed $6,000.

On March 14, 2009, it was announced that the Small Claims Court will be eliminated as part of budget cuts included in the 2009-2010 New Brunswick Budget.

An act to repeal the Small Claims Act received royal assent on June 19, 2009. A new rule of court is being drafted to provide for filing and hearing small claims in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Once this new rule of court is finalized, the new act will come into effect.

The province also plans to increase the small claims limit from $6,000 to $30,000.

Results:
In response to the March 14, 2009 announcement, CBA-NB issued a statement that it

strongly opposes the announcement that the Province of New Brunswick has decided to eliminate the Small Claims Court and transfer small claims cases to the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench…

Small claims adjudicators were put in place in January of 1999 in order to reduce the backlog in the Court of Queen’s Bench. “Prior to the appointment of adjudicators there were 1,600 small claims waiting to be heard by a Judge. It took months for a small claims matter to be heard” said Keyes [President of CBA-NB].

Transferring approximately 2,000 cases to the Court of Queen’s Bench will quickly create backlogs and will significantly impair the efficiencies that are now present in the Court of Queen’s Bench. “Litigants want their cases dealt with as quickly as possible. We fully expect that adding small claims to the already busy case load in the Court of Queen’s Bench will cause serious delays in having all cases heard by the Court” said Keyes.
CBA Statement

Revision History:
This summary was last reviewed in Dec 02, 2013