Your questions about coronavirus & legal services

I’m confused as to whether in my court case I have extra time to file a claim or counterclaim."

– Rae, Coquitlam, BC

Is the courthouse open? If I have a case coming up, will it be postponed?

After being closed early in the pandemic, courts in British Columbia resumed operations in mid-2020, with extensive new protocols in place. For Provincial Court matters, please consult their notice. Notices have also been issued by the Supreme Court and Appeals Court.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal continues to operate normally, though it is extending some timelines. This online tribunal handles small claims matters up to $5,000 and certain other types of disputes.

What if I’m running out of time to file a claim?

Early in the pandemic, the province issued an order suspending all limitation periods and time periods for starting a claim or bringing an appeal in a civil or family court matter. (There was an exception for builders' liens claims.) The suspension continued until March 25, 2021. This resulted in the suspension having been in place for exactly one year. To be clear: on March 25, 2021, the suspension of limitation periods ended. If you're contemplating a court action or appeal in a civil or family matter, file your paperwork now.

For matters before tribunals (as distinct from courts), each tribunal can decide whether to suspend time periods. Check with the tribunal that is in play for your situation.

Legal Aid BC continues to provide legal aid services, but by phone only. If you live in a community where there is a local agent, call the agent's office to apply for legal aid. Legal Aid BC’s online services remain open, such as the LiveHelp chat service on their Family Law website.

Yes, but non-profits have adapted their services during the pandemic, as so many have. Access Pro Bono ramped up their telephone advice service. CLAS continues to provide assistance to eligible clients, but the logistics changed

Some providers launched new services to respond to the crisis. For example, Mediate BC offers a "low-bono" online mediation program that helps people resolve conflicts that stem from the pandemic.

Is the land registry open for business?

At BC’s land title offices, front counter services are closed. But you can still register property sales and other title interests through their online services.

  • Reviewed in July 2021
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Time to read: 3 minutes

Reviewed for legal accuracy by

People's team, People's Law School

People's team

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