Act to Increase Small Claims Limit
Proposed changes to the Small Claims Court Act will make it easier and cheaper for Nova Scotians to resolve certain legal disputes. Justice Minister Michael Baker introduced legislation today, Oct. 18, that would allow the court to decide cases with claims valued at up to $25,000 instead of the current $15,000. “Increasing the limit to $25,000 will help people avoid the more costly option of starting a legal action before the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia,” said Mr. Baker. “It’s another step that will streamline our justice system and help people resolve disputes in a more timely fashion.” The small claims court provides a quick, informal and cost-effective method for deciding claims. It is not necessary for the participants to hire lawyers. Proceedings are also less formal than in other courts. Cases are heard by adjudicators who are lawyers, not judges. The small claims court is administered by the Department of Justice. On average, the court hears 3,750 cases each year. For more information, see the website at www.courts.ns.ca . Mr. Baker also introduced three other justice bills. Amendments to the Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act will make it easier to recognize and enforce civil orders of protection issued in other Canadian provinces. It would also make sure consumers in Nova Scotia are treated fairly if a judgment is issued against them in another province. The International Trusts Act will see Nova Scotia join most other provinces in establishing common provisions for the recognition of trusts. The Commercial Mediation Act will establish standards for commercial mediation agreements, and make agreements more readily enforceable by the courts. The act is based on model legislation adopted by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.