Are you interested in filing a petition to the Court in BC?
A petition is different to a notice of civil claim. With a petition, there is no trial or witnesses. There is simply a hearing in front of a judge that normally lasts a few hours.
You must pick either a notice of claim or a petition to the court. You cannot do both. It’s important to speak to a lawyer before starting a lawsuit.
All the evidence is provided via an affidavit with petitions. This is different than in a trial. In a trial, the most important things are witnesses and documents (emails, phone logs, pictures… etc.)
If you are the one that received the petition claim, then you will have twenty-one days to respond (if you are in Canada.)
British Columbia Court Services | Petition To The Court
If you don’t respond to the petition within the 21 days, you will not be told when and where the hearing will take place.
However, you will not automatically lose (default judgment) the same way that you would with a Notice of Civil Claim.
Responding doesn’t mean sending an email. It means getting a court stamp on the response to the petition document.
Do not reach out to a law firm a few days before the deadline. The lawyer won’t have enough time to respond. It is a lot of work. You will need to file the response (form 67) and the affidavit.
Supreme Court Lawsuits BC | Petition To The Court
A lot of work goes into both documents. If you do it yourself, the court might not stamp your document if you did it wrong.
If you didn’t include an affidavit or a legal basis, you will likely lose at the hearing. You need to take this very seriously. The Supreme Court is a higher level court. It is very different than simple claims (small claims.)
There are differences in what the claimant is called or the defence with small claims, a notice of civil claim, or a petition. We are not going to get into it here.
A notice of civil claim can end via a trial, an application, a summary trial, or a summary judgment.
Petition To The Court Form
A petition normally goes to a hearing. The petition is often much faster and more simple than a notice of civil claim. The discovery process is taken out, which can go on for years.
If both sides agree to the facts, a petition makes sense. When the parties don’t agree, the notice of civil claim is best (because discovery will be important.)
If you want to know how to start a petition versus a notice of civil claim, contact us. A lawyer can tell you what you need to do.
British Columbia Court System
There are also no examinations of discovery during a petition action.
Once you get the court staff on your petition document, you must serve it on the other side. If the other side avoids being served, you will have to read the Supreme Court rules.
The hearing for the petition is similar to Applications in the Supreme Court (for those that have been through it in other legal matters.)
Should You File A Petition Or Notice Of Civil Claim?
We would estimate that 80% of lawsuits are started via a notice of civil claim. Below are some situations that should be started by petition:
- When the only dispute is over a contract (no other disputes)
- Inheritance disputes
- Real estate disputes
- Tenancy disputes
- Employment law disputes
- British Columbia’s Business Corporations Act disputes
- Arbitration appeals
- Securities Act disagreements
- And legal matters involving the Legal Profession Act. This is normally disputes between lawyers and their clients.
Petitions are closer to an Application (sometimes called a motion) than they are to regular lawsuits.
You must file the petition at the same time as you file the affidavit. You cannot quickly file the petition, and then work on the evidence later. It has to be done at the same time.
If you are the person who started the petition, you will have to prepare a petition record before the hearing. This is a binder with all the information. The judge will use this to follow along with both sides arguments.
You should speak to a law firm in British Columbia about this. We can connect you with a lawyer.
Submitting The Petition Record To The Court
You need to put effort into your petition record. A hearing is all about building trust with the judge. If the judge thinks you are unorganized, then they likely won’t trust what you are saying.
There are deadlines for when you need to file your petition record. This is basically the same thing as an application record.
Make sure every page is numbered. Think about how you will direct the judge to the page and paragraph you are talking about.
You could say something like “My lord, please refer to the petition record, tab 3 at page 27.”
Just like an Application, the petition will be heard in the same courtroom. It’s an open court. There will be different rules if the hearing is over two hours or less than two hours.