Category: Court : Transfer

ICBC Fails In Application To Transfer Matter From Supreme Court To Provincial Court

The vast majority of ICBC injury claims are commenced in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, where there is no monetary limit, as there is a $25,000.00 limit at the Provincial Court level. Sometimes, ICBC will want to have the matter transferred to the Provincial Court level, however such applications are not commonly granted.


In Chang v. Wren, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision, and subsequently pursued an ICBC claim for non-pecuniary damages, as well as other types of damages. Counsel for the Plaintiff commenced the action in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. At a later point in the proceedings, ICBC’S lawyer brought an application to have the matter transferred to the Provincial Court, claiming that it was a minor accident, with only limited injuries. Counsel for the Plaintiff argued that, on a proper hearing of the evidence, it would be evident that the matter was worth more the $25,000.00 Provincial Court limit. The Court dismissed the application, commenting that there is a delay with re-scheduling trials at the Provincial Court level, and that it can be difficult without a full assessment of the evidence to assess whether or not a claim is worth more or less than the $25,000.00 Provincial Court limit.


[4]           Whatever the merits of the respective parties’ positions as to the ultimate quantum of damages in this matter, it seems to me that the appropriate disposition is to see that it gets to trial before a competent tribunal as quickly as possible, and with as little procedural clutter as possible.  That militates strongly in favour of the Supreme Court retaining this matter within its precincts, where there is a far greater likelihood, in the present circumstances, of a trial being held when it is scheduled, than there is in the Provincial Court.

[5]           Circumstances might be different if it could be reliably assumed that Provincial Court would get the matter on quickly and be done with it faster than a Supreme Court, but while I am not prepared to go so far as to say I take judicial notice of anything in particular, I certainly will observe that I do not think I can behave on the basis of that particular fiction.

[6]           What this application amounts to is a request to the court to summarily assess the evidence without hearing from any witnesses or without hearing from the plaintiff herself and determine that the matter would come in under $25,000.  That would depend on the court reading the medical reports, essentially as the defence suggests I should, and I do not think it is something that a responsible court could really do.

[7]           The plaintiff has chosen the Supreme Court of British Columbia.  She will have been advised of the hazards of bringing a Small Claim jurisdiction matter in this court, but if she is determined to proceed and to have a determination in Supreme Court, I think it would have to be established very, very firmly that the damages she claims could not exceed $25,000, before the court would entertain such an application.