Many people don’t realize that when they are involved in a civil case, there are deadlines that must be met in order to prevent any unfavourable consequences. One of these deadlines is the deadline for filing and serving a Response to Civil Claim or a Reply (depending on whether it is BC Supreme Court or Small Claims Court). Many court rules give a specific number of days by which documents need to be filed and/or served.
If you miss this deadline, the other party may request to enter into a default judgment against you. This can be a costly and time-consuming process to set aside, so it’s important to make sure that you file and serve your documents on time.
The best way to do this is to hire an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system and make sure that all of your documents are filed correctly and on time.
However, if you are self-representing, this blog contains some basic information about deadlines and requirements for filing that you must ensure that you abide by.
What Service Deadlines Do You Need to Adhere To?
Small Claims Court
The BC Provincial Court’s Small Claims Court generally deals with cases involving $5,001 or more but less than $35,000.
The process for filing in Small Claims Court is generally simpler than the process for filing in BC Supreme Court. However, there are still strict deadlines you must adhere to:
- If you are the party filing a lawsuit, the person you are claiming against must be served with your Notice of Claim and supporting documents. This is generally done by hand-delivering them or sending them by registered mail. For more information on serving documents, see the Provincial Court of BC website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/courthouse-services/small-claims/how-to-guides/serving-documents
- If you are the person defending a claim, you have 14 days to file a Reply after being served with the Notice of Claim.
- As the person defending a lawsuit, you also have the opportunity to file a Counterclaim. A Counterclaim is a lawsuit that you wish to file against the other party who first filed a claim.
- The Counterclaim must be filed within 14 days of being served with the Notice of Claim.
BC Supreme Court
The BC Supreme Court is the province’s superior trial court and hears both civil and criminal matters. There is no limit to the amount of the claim in BC Supreme Court.
In a civil matter, an individual or organization (the plaintiff) commences a another individual or organization (the defendant) for damages by way of filing a Notice of Civil Claim. The plaintiff must serve the defendant with the Notice of Civil Claim. Generally speaking, after being served, the defendant has 21 days from the date of service to file and serve a Response to Civil Claim. If the defendant chooses to file a Counterclaim, they must do so within 21 days from the date of service of the Response to Civil Claim. These timelines can be longer in certain circumstances, such as when the defendant is out of the province when the Notice of Civil Claim is served.
What Happens If the Service Date Falls on a Weekend or Holiday?
If you’ve ever wondered what happens if a service date or statutory deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, you’re not alone. Many people assume that court dates are always set for weekdays, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, service dates can fall on any day of the week, including weekends and holidays. So what happens if this occurs?
Typically, if a service date or statutory deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is extended to the next business day. This means that if your service deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, you would have until Monday to respond. However, if the Monday following your service date is a holiday, you would then have until Tuesday to respond.
If you’ve been served with court documents in British Columbia, it is important to be aware of the deadlines that apply to your case. Depending on which court the proceedings are based, the deadlines can be different. This blog post has outlined some examples of common deadlines that apply in civil proceedings in British Columbia.
The most important thing to remember is that if you have been served with court documents, do not ignore them. The sooner you take action, the better. You should consult with a civil litigation lawyer as soon as possible so that they can help you understand your options and deadlines. If you do not respond to the court documents in time, you could risk having a default judgment made against you.
If you have any questions about the deadlines that apply in your case, give us a call today!
Disclaimer – The information contained herein is of a general nature. It is not intended to be legal advice and it is not intended to address the exact circumstances of any particular individual or entity. No one should rely on or act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice and without a thorough examination of their particular situation. Please contact our office if you have any questions with respect to the content of this entry, this website, or our Terms and Conditions .