Alberta Raises Provincial Court Civil Claims Limit

Effective August 1, 2023, Alberta’s government is increasing the Provincial Court of Alberta civil claims limit to $100,000, doubling the current limit of $50,000. Further, effective April 1, 2023, the Court was officially renamed the “Alberta Court of Justice” and the title of the Judges of this Court are now changed from Judge to Justice. There will be a grace period during which time documents that use the outdated name and terminology will be considered to be valid, and previous versions of court forms will be accepted.


On December 15, 2022, Bill 5, the Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2022 (No.2) (“Amendment Act”) came into force, with some exceptions.[1] The Amendment Act changed subsection 9(1)(i) of Alberta’s Provincial Court Act to allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to raise the maximum monetary value of civil claims over which the Provincial Court/Alberta Court of Justice (“Court”) has jurisdiction.[2]

The purpose of these amendments was to give Albertans greater access to the justice system. The Court’s procedures are generally thought to be more accessible for lay litigants to navigate and sometimes allow for quicker dispute resolution.

The maximum limit prescribed by the Amendment Act is $200,000.[3] The Lieutenant Governor in Council may increase the civil claims limit by enacting regulations to effect this change. While $200,000 is the maximum monetary limit permitted by the Amendment Act, at this time the civil claims limit is unlikely to be raised to the maximum amount given there has been little public support from the legal community to raise the limit above $100,000.


As a result of the increased civil claims limit, the Court will likely see an increase in the number and complexity of claims. The expedited procedures may prove more attractive to both plaintiffs’ counsel and lay litigants who wish to resolve their disputes expeditiously and cost-effectively. For higher risk personal injury claims, such as slip and falls, the relaxed rules of evidence may be more attractive to litigants.

Further, the simplified procedures of the Court may work to the benefit of plaintiffs and the detriment of defendants. Unlike the Court of King’s Bench, the Court does not have set deadlines for the disclosure of records and documents.[4] This may result in last-minute disclosures or unrealistic timelines for defendants to review disclosure and prepare a defence.

The Court also lacks set procedures for questionings and expert reports. The only recourse available to litigants will be to apply for the Court’s approval to allow questioning or expert reports for their claim. Section 8 of the Provincial Court Act states the Court may apply the Alberta Rules of Court where the Provincial Court Act or applicable regulations do not provide for a specific practice or procedure.[5] Through this provision, the Court may import the rules, which include procedures on questionings[6] and expert reports.[7]

Another factor to consider is that claims under $100,000 pursued in the Court of King’s Bench may have a decreased cost award. All Court of King’s Bench claims with a monetary value which falls under the jurisdiction of the Court will have cost applications assessed at no more than 75% of the lowest cost awards column specified in the Rules of Court.[8] If no further change is enacted before August 1, 2023, arguably all King’s Bench claims under $100,000 will be subject to a 25% decrease in costs payable.

Nevertheless, for some claims, the expedited process may allow disputes to be resolved quickly and with less expense for both plaintiffs and defendants. Moreover, many claims require mandatory pre-trial conferences or mediations, the former often resulting in the Justice of the Court exploring opportunities for settlement.[9] Litigants may avoid costly mediation fees by attending these processes. In short, the result is that the Court of King’s Bench may have greater availability for claims due to a shift in caseload.

As a final note, certain issues can and cannot be heard by the Court. Although the increase in the civil claims limit will widen the scope of claims heard by the Court, there are types of claims that are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the King’s Bench. Some of these for example, include injunctions, declaratory relief, and builders' liens.


The increased civil claims limit to $100,000 will undoubtedly lead to an increase of litigants to the Court. In theory, this may free up resources in the Court of King’s Bench to deal with more complex matters.

Litigants, especially defendants, ought to be aware of the relaxed procedural requirements of the Court. Individuals should proactively seek the Court’s approval for procedural steps, such as questioning if the claim necessitates it.

Individuals proceeding in King’s Bench should account for the potential decreased costs awards if their claim falls under $100,000. Also, as noted, not all actions even with a monetary increase under $100,000 will fall under the jurisdiction of the Court.

If you would like assistance or advice on these matters, please contact a member of our Insurance or Commercial Litigation Practice Group.

[1] Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2022 (NO. 2), SA 2022, c 20.

[2] Ibid at Amends RSA 2000 cP‑31.

[3] Provincial Court Act, RSA 2000, c P-31, s 9(1)(i).

[4] Provincial Court Civil Procedure Regulation, Alta Reg 176/2018, s 15.

[5] McCray v. Westvillage Condominiums Ltd., 2011 ABPC 395 at para 28.

[6] Alberta Rules of Court, Alta Reg 124/2010, R 5.17-5.33.

[7] Ibid, R 5.34 – 5.40.

[8] Ibid, R 10.42

[9] Provincial Court Civil Procedure Regulation, Alta Reg 176/2018, s 14.