Albertans can more successfully defend themselves in civil claims court cases as of August 1 and save time and money on legal fees.

Albertans can now file civil claims up to $100,000 in the Alberta Court of Justice, simplifying the procedure and lowering costs. This adjustment represents an increase from the previous ceiling of $50,000 and the first rise in the civil claims ceiling by the government of Alberta in nine years.

People from Alberta will still be able to file a civil lawsuit in the Court of King's Bench of Alberta.

“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,” explained Mickey Amery, Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

With 72 locations throughout the province, the Alberta Court of Justice hears roughly 10,000 civil cases each year.

The higher civil claims limit will free up time in the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, as it means more matters can be heard in the Alberta Court of Justice.

“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,” explained Derek G. Redman, chief justice, of the Alberta Court of Justice.

After consulting with Alberta's three courts and sending surveys to the Law Society of Alberta, Canadian Bar Association Alberta Branch, Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association, Legal Aid Alberta, and organizations that offer low-income Albertans, free legal counsel, the provincial government of Alberta decided to set the $100,000 cap.

The civil claims cap was recently raised from $25,000 to $50,000 in 2014, prior to the rise to $100,000 on August 1. 

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