Alberta doubles claim limit to $100,000 for Court of Justice in move designed to simplify, improve accessibility

The Court of King's Bench in Medicine Hat, Alta. Photo: Solidago/Getty Images Signature/Canva

Albertans can now file civil claims of up to $100,000 in the Alberta Court of Justice, a doubling of the previous limit of $50,000.

This is the first time in nine years that the limit has been raised, and it marks a substantial shift in the justice system of the province, the province said.

The Alberta Court of Justice currently handles about 10,000 civil claims each year with 72 locations across Alberta. The change aims to make the civil claims process more navigable for Albertans as opposed to the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta.

Mickey Amery, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, highlighted the potential impact of the change, stating, “This increase to the civil claims limit will make the justice system more affordable and accessible for Albertans. Our government is committed to a more effective justice system in Alberta and this is another positive step in that direction.”

The increase in the civil claims limit is expected to free up time in the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, allowing more matters to be heard in the Alberta Court of Justice. Derek G. Redman, chief justice of the Alberta Court of Justice, further emphasized the importance of this change, noting, “The Alberta Court of Justice has grown and evolved to meet the changing needs of Albertans. This increase reflects that evolution and our increased capacity as a forum for resolving civil disputes. This change empowers the court to handle a broader range of civil cases, easing the burden on higher courts and reducing delays in the judicial process.”

The decision to increase the civil claims limit to $100,000 was made after engagement with Alberta’s three courts and consultation with the Law Society of Alberta, Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch, Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association, Legal Aid Alberta, and organizations providing free legal advice to low-income Albertans.

Changes to the Justice Statutes Amendment Act in fall 2022 enabled the government to increase the civil claims limit in the Alberta Court of Justice up to $200,000. However, after careful consideration and collaboration with legal organizations, the government chose the $100,000 limit.

The last change to the civil claims limit was in 2014 when it was increased to $50,000 from $25,000. The recent increase to $100,000, effective August 1, reflects a continuing effort to make the legal system in Alberta more efficient and accessible for its citizens.