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Inventory of Reforms

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Saskatchewan Small Claims Court

Year:
1997

Description:
Overview of the Saskatchewan Small Claims Court.

Status:
Permanent Implementation

Jurisdiction:
Saskatchewan

Court:
Saskatchewan Provincial Court (Civil Division) – Small Claims Court

Timeline:
1997: New Small Claims Act came into force
2003: Review of the Small Claims Court System initiated
January 2006: Provincial Court (Civil Division) established
January 2006: Case management conferences introduced province-wide
January 2006: Monetary jurisdiction of the Court increased from $5,000 to $10,000
January 2007: Monetary jurisdiction of the Court increased from $10,000 to $15,000
November 2007: Monetary jurisdiction of the Court increased from $15,000 to $20,000

Publications:
Saskatchewan Justice and Attorney General, Changes Introduced to Improve Access to Small Claims CourtExternal Link (Government of Saskatchewan, March 18, 1997). [1997 News Release]
Saskatchewan Justice and Attorney General, Small Claims Court Changes Effective January 1stExternal Link (Government of Saskatchewan, December 22, 2005). [2005 News Release]
Saskatchewan Justice and Attorney General, Further Enhancements To Small Claims CourtExternal Link (Government of Saskatchewan, December 6, 2006).
Saskatchewan Justice and Attorney General, Further Enhancements To Small Claims CourtExternal Link (Government of Saskatchewan, October 10, 2007).
Small Claims CourtExternal Link (website) (Courts of Saskatchewan, March 2008).
Flowchart for how a case goes to small claims court
Overview of small claims court

Development:
Small Claims Court is within the Civil Division of the Saskatchewan Provincial Court established by s.2 of the Small Claims Act.

Purpose:
Ensuring efficient and effective resolution of civil disputes in Saskatchewan.

Description of Reforms:
1997 Initiatives
The previously existing legislation governing small claims was replaced by the Small Claims Act which was written “to ensure the language is clear and understandable, enhancing its usefulness for people without a legal background”. The changes introduced included:

  • expanding the types of disputes the Small Claims Court could hear;
  • expanding the type of orders Small Claims Court could make (at the time, the Court was limited to ordering the payment of money or the return of property);
  • giving the Small Claims Court the ability to transfer a case to a different and more appropriate court location at the request of a party;
  • authorizing the Court of Queen’s Bench to transfer matters to Small Claims Court with the parties’ consent;
  • eliminating the requirement for a party to prove their claim if the other party does not appear for trial;
  • allowing judges to be more detailed in specifying how orders should be complied with (i.e. ordering an installment schedule for a payment order); and
  • enabling the claim limit ($5,000 at the time) to be replaced by a higher limit either province-wide or in certain parts of the province (1997 News Release).

2006 Initiatives
A review of the small claims court system in the province was conducted in 2003-2004. The review examined “three areas: how the small claims court system works; a comparative analysis of small claims court systems in other Canadian jurisdictions, and recommendations for changes to better ensure that the small claims court system is accessible, effective and affordable” (2003-2004 Annual Report at 33).

Based on the recommendations arising out of the review process, several changes were implemented:

  • effective January 1, 2006, monetary limit was increased from $5,000 to $10,000
  • Provincial Court Act was amended to establish a Civil Division of Provincial Court to reflect the specialized nature of small claims adjudication
  • Small Claims Act was amended to require parties involved in the dispute attend a case management session prior to proceeding to trial. This process had been previously piloted in two locations in the province with success. A case management judge assists the parties in settling the matter prior to trial. If no resolution is achieved, the judge may give any necessary directions to the parties to ensure the trial proceeds quickly and efficiently (2005 News Release).

Further Increases to Monetary Jurisdiction of the Court

  • On January 1, 2007, the monetary limit was increased from $10,000 to $15,000.
  • On November 1, 2007, the monetary limit was increased from $15,000 to $20,000.

Revision History:
This summary was last reviewed in Aug 16, 2012