The Court of Queen’s Bench has the jurisdiction to hear any civil law matter, including all family law matters.
Practically speaking, disputes with a claim value of $30,000 or less are typically handled in Small Claims Court, with the exception of disputes involving land. As well, some family law matters are heard in Provincial Court in communities where the Court of Queen’s Bench does not sit.
Inquiries about a file, including looking for a specific trial date, should be directed to the nearest Local Registrar's office. A list of court locations is available here.
There may be a $10 search fee to locate information without a file number (also referred to as a QB number).
Responding to a Statement of Claim
A Statement of Claim (or a Petition) is the document that commences a lawsuit. It is prepared by the Plaintiff (the person initiating the lawsuit) and is filed with the court. Anyone receiving a Statement of Claim should read the entire document immediately.
The first page of the Statement of Claim indicates that a reply must be made within a certain period of time - usually 20 days. The appropriate document to file in response is a Statement of Defence.
It is always advisable for individuals contemplating or responding to a lawsuit to consult a lawyer immediately for advice about their legal rights and obligations. However, whether a lawyer is representing them or they are representing themselves, they must reply to the Statement of Claim within the required time. Failure to reply means that they risk being "noted for default" which means that the Plaintiff will have won the lawsuit. The Plaintiff can then obtain a court order and can begin to collect their damages.