Alberta Civil Laws Explained: How do I File a Civil Claim in Edmonton, Alberta

Under provincial laws, if you are suing for less than $50000, you must file your application at the provincial court. If the amount exceeds $50000, you must file your claim at the Court of Queen’s Bench. Visit your provincial clerk of court office to file a claim.

Quick take: How to file a civil claim in Edmonton

  • The limitation period for lawsuits in Edmonton, Alberta is between two to ten years (consult with an attorney).
  • Failure to file a claim within the limitation period grants immunity to the defendant.
  • To file a claim in civil court, you must complete the correct form (see below), swear a statement, and serve a notice.
  • If you get served, you may dispute by filing a counterclaim or dispute note.
  • The court may suggest alternative dispute resolution solutions such as mediation or pretrial conference.
  • Failure to attend mediation or pretrial conference meetings may lead to dismissal.
  • If parties reach an agreement during pretrial or mediation, the issue will not go to court.

Alberta civil law explained: What type of claim should I file?

In Alberta, there are at least ten types of lawsuits you may file after you suffer financial, emotional, or physical injury. Consequently, if it is your first time filing a claim, you must consult with a legal representative.

To initiate the claims process you must be of sound mind, and you must be above 18.

 If you are below 18 or your capacity has diminished because of age or disease. You will need a litigation representative willing to accept responsibility for the suit and the cost involved.

What is the procedure to file a civil suit in Alberta?

The first thing you must do is choose the right lawsuit. To that end, the ten types of lawsuits you may file in provincial court are:

  • Personal injury claim
  • Payday loan claim
  • Breach of contract claim
  • Wrongful dismissal claim
  • Damage to property
  • Return of security deposit
  • Return of personal property
  • Motor vehicle accident claim
  • Debt claim
  • Money owed for goods and services claim
  • General claim

A “general claim” refers to any other type of claim not listed above. Consequently, if you are unsure of what claim to file, you should consult with a claim’s attorney.

What to remember

  • You cannot file the same case in the provincial court and Queen’s bench. You may only file a claim in one court.
  • You may “abandon” any amount above $50000 in provincial court and sue for a lesser sum.
  • Incorrectly naming the defendant (person/organization) may cost you your suit. Therefore, make sure that the names, addresses, and dates are correct before filing.
  • You must file a claim before the limitation period expires.

How do I take someone to small claims court in Edmonton?

Under provincial laws, a claim is eligible for provincial court if:

  • You are suing for an amount less than $50000.
  • The court must have jurisdiction to grant judgment.

It is also worth mentioning that the defendant has the option to file a counterclaim.

Under Alberta’s Provincial Court Act, provincial courts do not have jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate claims and counterclaims that involve quote:

“In which the title to land is brought into question, (b) in which the validity of any device, bequest, or limitation is disputed, (c) for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, defamation, criminal conversation, or breach of promise of marriage, (d) against a judge, justice of the peace or peace officer for anything done by that person while executing the duties of that office, or (e) by a local authority or school board for the recovery of taxes, other than taxes imposed in respect of the occupancy of or an interest in land that is itself exempt from taxation.”

How to file a claim in provincial court in Edmonton Alberta

Alberta court procedure requires applicants/claimants to do the following:

1.      Choose the correct form when applying

If the issue is related to tenancy, you will need to complete Residential Tenancy Act forms, whereas if the issue is under family law – you must complete Family Law Act Forms. The same applies to the claims above, so if you are unsure what form to complete, you should work with an attorney or visit a provincial court clerk near you.

Download civil court forms here.

2.      Complete a statement or affidavit

Before the claims process begins, you must swear a statement/affidavit before a commissioner for oaths or notary public. Note that if you lie or give a false statement, there may be consequences, and the person or organization named in the claim may have grounds to file a lawsuit.

 Make sure that:

  • Everything in your claim is factual and can be proven.
  • You list the correct name, address, and details.

After that, submit the forms to the provincial court clerk.

What to remember:

  • A court clerk will help you set a court date.
  • The respondent must have at least twenty days to respond.
3.      Serve the application

Provincial rules require you, a friend, or a process server to hand deliver court material directly to the respondent.

What if you cannot find the respondent?

Provincial court rules allow you to (1) post a notice on the respondent’s front door. (2) Serve the documents through anyone who has contact with the respondent. (3) Send through recorded mail. (4) Use a process server.

What to do if you get served in Alberta

As mentioned, as the defendant, you have twenty days to file a Dispute Note at the provincial court. You also have the option to file a counterclaim against the claimant.

The court may recommend mediation

If the court selects the matter for mediation, court representatives will notify both parties of the time and date of the mediation. Unlike litigation, mediation will not happen in court. Instead, it will take place in an informal space such as a boardroom.

Mediation: What to remember

  • If you do not attend mediation, you risk having your claim or counterclaim struck.
  • You will need evidence such as contracts, videos, photos, emails, or anything else that may prove your claim.
  • If mediation fails, the matter may go to court.
  • A mediator decides how to settle the matter based on the facts presented.
  • If the parties agree, the matter concludes.

Pretrial conference

Another alternative to trial is PTC/Pretrial conference which may be held in a courtroom or conference room. A pretrial conference serves three functions:

(1) Resolve the issue through a voluntary agreement.

(2) Identify agreed-upon or disputed issues.

(3) Clarify the issues.

What to remember

  • Witnesses do not participate in a pretrial conference in Alberta.
  • All parties involved must attend the pretrial conference. Failure to attend may trigger judgment against one or both parties, or the claim/counterclaim may be struck.
  • The parties must exchange records and documents 14 days before the conference.
  • Issues discussed in a pretrial conference are confidential.
  • If the parties reach an agreement, the claimant and counterclaimant must withdraw their claim.
  • The judge renders the final judgment.
  • You cannot appeal a decision made by a judge during a pretrial conference.
  • If a pretrial conference does not solve the claim, the issue will go to trial.

Download Notice of Pre Trial Conference here.

How much does it cost to file a claim in Edmonton, Alberta?

In provincial court, the fee for a claim valued at less than $7500 is $100. Any claim above $7500 will cost you $200.

The fee for a dispute note -without a counterclaim is $25. You will have to pay $50 for a third-party claim or notice of application

See the full list here.

We recommend consulting with a provincial office court clerk or attorney.

How long can you wait to sue someone in Edmonton, Alberta?

Depending on the claim, you have between two to ten years to file a claim.

Alberta’s limitation act section 3. reads, quote:

If a claimant does not seek a remedial order within  (a)  2 years after the date on which the claimant first knew, or in the circumstances ought to have known, (i)  that the injury for which the claimant seeks a remedial order had occurred, (ii)    that the injury was attributable to conduct of the defendant, and  (iii)    that the injury, assuming liability on the part of the defendant, warrants bringing a proceeding  or (b) 10 years after the claim arose, whichever period expires first, the defendant, on pleading this Act as a defense, is entitled to immunity from liability in respect of the claim”

What to remember

  • The burden of proof is on the claimant.
  • If the limitation period expires, the defendant is no longer liable to pay damages.
  • In Alberta, crimes including battery, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and some crimes against the disabled and minors do not have a limitation period.

Also, section 11. “Judgment for payment of money,” reads, quote:

“If within 10 years after the claim arose, a claimant does not seek a remedial order in respect of a claim based on a judgment or order for the payment of money, the defendant, on pleading this Act as a defense, is entitled to immunity from liability in respect of the claim.”