Applications to Court
Are you looking into applications to court for the BC Supreme Court? This is a guide that was written by a self-represented individual who went through the Supreme Court BC process. It was for a civil matter, which includes family law, bankruptcy, personal injury, and family law.
This article teaches the lessons of the individual during applications to the court in Supreme Court BC. The hearing for an application is called “chambers applications.”
This self-represented guide will form part of a series of educational materials. The self-rep found there was little information available online outside of the court articles. Therefore, we decided to put this together to help people avoid expensive mistakes.
You have two options when self-representing:
- Learn as much as you can about the procedures of the court online.
- Prepare your own paperwork but hire a lawyer to check it prior to filing documents. You can also get your information checked prior to going to court.
The Supreme Court of BC is far more formal than the provincial court. You need to follow their rules and file many forms on time. If you fail to file something on time, the other side will likely seek costs. This can become more expensive than hiring a lawyer part-time to help you.
Applications Are Less Formal Than Trials
You will note that lawyers and judges wear business outfits instead of robes during chambers applications. During trials, they wear robes instead.
Civil cases in British Columbia’s Supreme Court usually involve a claim that exceeds the amount of $35K. Some people reduce their claim to $35,000 in order to be heard in provincial court which is a simpler procedure. Self-representing in Supreme Court is difficult, even some lawyers don’t want to go there.
Lessons From The Self Represented Individual
The first mistake the individual made was to assume that the procedures in the Supreme Court of BC were the same as the Provincial Court. For example, when filing a motion or application, there are very strict rules that need to be followed. Examples of this include:
1) The filing of the notice of application served on all parties 2) The filing of the affidavit 3) The filing of the application
Affidavits Are Important
One big difference from trial and small claims court (provincial) is that evidence is generally presented (instead of witnesses) in the form of affidavits. That means that if you don’t swear the evidence, you can’t use it at your hearing. Therefore, if you don’t file an affidavit, you show up at court with no evidence. The opposing party will likely win by default and might be awarded costs. This can be expensive if they have a lawyer.
In small claims court (provincial court) you just show up and argue your case. The filing requirements are very simple. The judges often push people into settlement during settlement conferences.
Applications to Court- You Can Respond To The Respondent
You can file a response to their response a few days before the hearing. Make sure you serve it on the other party. Also, to file something means you receive a stamp on the document.
We highly suggest you watch this video:
Showing up at court for Applications to Court In Supreme Court BC
Assuming you filed everything correctly when you show up your name and the matter will be on a list on the court wall. It will either be under “master” or “judge.” Further, there will be a courtroom assigned. In Vancouver supreme court, it is normally in room 31 or 33.
Make sure to arrive at least 15 minutes early, as it can be a confusing experience. Many people are surprised to see that there will be many other people in the courtroom as well. The proceedings will often start at 9:45 am or 2 pm Monday-Friday. Normally, the simplest matters are heard first.
Read more articles about BC Court:
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- B.C. judge orders City of Surrey to stop handing out tickets to Uber drivers
- B.C. Supreme Court passes on hearing challenge of union construction deal
Applications to Court- Many People Have Lawyers
Some people will be self-represented, and others will have lawyers. Some people will not show up to court, and they often have an order made against them. If you cannot make a chambers hearing, you should file to adjourn. Firstly, you need to contact the opposing party and request their consent.
If they deny it, you will have to appear at the court if it is the same day as the hearing. If you can get to the court before the day of the hearing, you might be able to file an adjournment form. Also, speak to the court staff to receive this or ask the lawyer that is providing the self-represented coaching.
The key to winning your application is being organized. You should have filed your application record and affidavit with the courts a few days prior to the hearing. Therefore, the affidavit can be hard to do, so it’s best to speak to a lawyer about this.
Application Record- BC Courts
You need to file the application record a few days before the hearing. There are no exceptions to this. Even if the other party doesn’t plan to show up, or they consent, you need to do it. If not, the judge or master wouldn’t be able to follow along with your arguments to the court. Further, it should include all the evidence you plan to argue. It should also include case law or applicable laws that help the judge decide.
In the record, it should have numbered pages. This is important so that you can refer to it when you speak to the judge. For example, you might say… “My lord, please refer to page 17 to see Mr. Smith’s text message. Etc…”
Applications To Court- Don’t Assume The Judge Understands
The judge or master might have already read some of the binder (which is why they want you to file it a few days before.) But please note, don’t assume they have read everything.
In conclusion, you can see the court’s website for more information about what should go into the application record. We might do a separate article about it at another time.