Manitoba proposes higher cap for small-claims court, more ease to dismiss cases

WINNIPEG – The Manitoba government is planning to make small-claims court available to more people.

A bill introduced in the legislature would raise the limit on the amount that could be sought in small-claims proceedings to $15,000 from $10,000.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen says that would allow more people to avoid Court of Queen’s Bench, where cases can take longer and cost more.

The bill also proposes to make it easier for Court of Queen’s Bench and Appeal Court judges to dismiss cases brought by people who repeatedly file frivolous or unfounded claims.

Currently, the attorney general has to sign off on a vexatious dismissal, but under the bill judges could make the call.

The province is also proposing provincial court judges be required to retire at 75 to bring them in line with judges in higher courts.

Cullen says the changes are common sense and would make courts more effective.