This court handles any claim amounts. One must prepare and file a detailed Statement of Claim with the Court of Queen’s Bench. The cost for filing in this court is $200.
The Statement of Claim, once filed, must be personally served on the debtor (defendant) within one year of the date of filing. If the defendant does not file a response, in the form of a Demand of Notice or Statement of Defence within 20 days of the date of service, a judgment by default may be obtained by filing proof of service of the claim.
However, if the defendant files a defence then you may make an application, on notice to the defendant, to a Justice (or Master in Chambers, if available) to determine the validity of their defence. The application is heard in chambers and if there is no issue to be tried, the Justice (or Master) will strike out the defence and enter Judgement against the defendant.
If, however, there is a triable issue between the plaintiff and the defendant, each party must prepare and deliver to the other party an affidavit setting out all documents and other documents which are material to the issues. Each party may then require the other parties to appear before a court reporter for Questioning under oath. This process is to permit each party to discover all facts which are relevant to the issues to be proven at trial.
Each party is supposed to take all relevant documents to the Questioning so that the same can be placed in evidence for use at the trial. However, is in not unusual for the opposing lawyer to request documents or other information not initially contemplated and to request an undertaking to produce any such document or information. A second Questioning may then be held to ask any questions relating to the new information.
During this period various types of motions can be put before the court such as applications to compel a witness on discovery to answer questions or produce documents or to settle preliminary issues of law and these can often delay the matter.
Once Questioning and all undertakings have been completed the parties may complete and file a Certificate of Readiness certifying that the matter is ready for trial, but only if the parties have conducted “alternative dispute resolution” procedures also known as mediation or judicial dispute resolution (unless the court waives this step) . Once obtained the Certificate of Readiness is filed the Clerk of the Court with a fee of $200.00. A pre-trial conference or a mini trial may be held to condense, clear up or simplify the proceedings prior to trial.
Once judgment has been granted, it is then approved as to contents by all the parties and filed with the clerk of the court. However, a judgment is only a confirmation by the court that the money is owed and is not an order of the court. Therefore, it is not considered contempt of court to fail to pay a judgement.
Costs are normally awarded to the successful party. Unless there is a contract which provides for Solicitor-client costs, costs are determined in accordance with Schedule C of the Alberta Rules of Court. This Schedule bears no relation to the actual costs of the party, but is generally considered to provide an indemnity of approximately 40-45% of the actual legal costs.
Once judgement has been obtained, collection procedures such as seizure of assets or garnishee of wages or bank accounts must be instituted if the defendant does not pay.