Claims for more than $12 000 can be commenced in the general division of the Court in much the same way as for a minor claim (Form 1 – Claim and Form 1S – Statement of Claim). A filing fee applies and the amount of the fee will vary depending on the value of the claim. Visit the Courts website here for list of current fees.
As with a minor civil claim, a Notice of Intended Claim should be sent to the respondent prior to filing the claim.
The time limits and forms for entering a defence are the same as for a minor claim (28 days).
Once a defence is filed the court registry will send out a notice for a directions hearing. The court will also hold a conciliation conference as well as the directions hearing for the express purpose of trying to resolve the claim without the need for a trial.
If the matter is listed for trial, a listing trial fee will apply ($836 * for individuals and $1114 * for corporations)
The court rules contain a number of very important provisions about legal costs if a case goes to trial. The effect of them is that if offers are made and filed with the Court and the successful party at the trial is not awarded an amount in excess of the filed offer they will not receive an order for legal costs as large as if no offer was made. There are also penalties on parties for not making realistic offers to settle which can result in them having to pay additional costs to the other party. Because both parties can be represented by lawyers the effect of these rules concerning offers can have a very significant effect on the actual amount that a party will receive.
The courts also have procedures to refer matters for mediation. This is another way in which the courts try to resolve matters without trials, see MEDIATION.