Small Claims for Alberta: Some Recommendations

  • R. B. Spevakow


Small claims courts have been the subject of legal and legislative scrutiny in number of jurisdictions. This article examines the small claims system, paying particular attention to the underlying purpose of such system: to provide the individual with an accessable means to obtain speedy, inexpensive and understand able redress. In light of this purpose, concerns that the courts may ignore the in dividual (particularly when the individual is defendant), and that the courts may be used as judicial collection agencies, are raised and discussed. Much attention is given to the format of the court and the roles of judge and lawyer. Although material is drawn from research done in several Canadian and American jurisdictions, discussion is aimed specifically at the situation in Alberta. Portions of the article are followed by recommendations aimed at remedying specific problems raised in the discussion.