How to Make a Civil Claim In Alberta

Understanding a Civil Claim Starting Process

Anna Dunaeva DLegal Anna Dunaeva January 25, 2024
DLegal Law Office - Books

Conflict and disagreements are an unavoidable part of life. While most are resolved quickly and amicably, there may be times when these situations escalate to the point where you want to lay a formal legal claim against someone in order to resolve the matter.


However, whether you are making a claim against someone, or have received a claim against you, the legal intricacies around civil claims can make it complex and confusing. Many people choose to get help from an expert civil lawyer to ensure their legal rights are protected.

What Is a Civil Claim Alberta

In Alberta, a civil claim represents a formal legal action initiated by one party, known as the plaintiff, against another party, the defendant, seeking resolution, compensation, or specific relief for a dispute or harm suffered. The civil justice system in Alberta handles a diverse range of claims, addressing issues such as personal injury, contractual disputes, property matters, debt recovery, employment conflicts, and family law disputes.

Depending on the nature and monetary value of the claim, cases may be filed in either the Alberta Provincial Court or the Court of King’s Bench. The Provincial Court typically handles less complex matters and claims with lower monetary values.

Types Of Civil Claims

There are several types of civil claims in Alberta, each applying to specific situations.


Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims are among the most prevalent civil actions in Alberta. They arise from incidents causing physical or psychological harm, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, or medical malpractice. Understanding the specific elements of personal injury claims, such as proving negligence or fault, is essential for potential claimants.


Contractual Disputes

Contract disputes can emerge in various contexts, such as business transactions, employment agreements, or service contracts. Civil claims in contractual disputes often hinge on interpreting contract terms, establishing breaches, and quantifying damages.


Property Disputes

Civil claims related to property can encompass boundary disputes, disagreements between landlords and tenants, or conflicts arising from real estate transactions. Specific regulations and considerations apply to each type of property dispute, requiring a nuanced understanding of property law.

Debt Recovery

Pursuing a civil claim for debt recovery involves navigating through specific legal processes to compel a debtor to repay outstanding amounts. Understanding the intricacies of debt recovery, including statutory limitations and enforcement options, is crucial for successful claims.

Employment Disputes

While many employment disputes fall within the jurisdiction of specialized employment tribunals, civil claims may arise in cases of unfair dismissal, workplace discrimination, or breaches of employment contracts. These claims often involve nuanced employment law principles.

Family Law Matters

While family law disputes are typically addressed in family courts, civil claims may arise in situations involving property disputes, disagreements over financial support, or other matters requiring resolution outside the family law framework.

How to Make a Civil Claim

Making a civil claim can be a long and complex process which usually involves specific steps and procedures.


Thorough preparation is the cornerstone of a successful civil claim. Gathering all relevant documents, including contracts, correspondence, invoices, photographs, and witness statements, is crucial. The strength of a claim often relies on the quality and comprehensiveness of the evidence presented.

Court Forms

Utilizing the appropriate court forms is an integral part of the preparation process. Often available on the official Alberta Courts website (, court forms provide standardized templates for documents such as the Statement of Claim. These forms ensure that the necessary information is presented in a format acceptable to the court. Familiarizing oneself with the required court forms is essential for accurately initiating legal action.

Statement of Claim (Civil Claim Form)

The civil claim process begins with preparing a Statement of Claim, often referred to as a civil claim form. This document serves as the foundation of the legal action, outlining the facts of the case, the legal basis for the claim, and the specific relief sought. Drafting a precise and comprehensive Statement of Claim is essential for initiating the legal process.

Filing With the Court

Once the Statement of Claim is prepared, it must be filed with the appropriate court along with any necessary filing fees. The process of filing the claim with the court is a key step in the legal action. This is where the court file is initiated, becoming the official repository for all documents related to the case.

Serving the Defendant

Properly serving the defendant with a copy of the filed civil claim form is a critical step in the legal process. Ensuring that the defendant is officially notified of the legal proceedings is fundamental to upholding the principles of fairness and due process.

Defendant’s Response

The defendant has a specified timeframe to respond to the claim. The response is typically in the form of a Statement of Defense, wherein the defendant addresses each allegation made by the plaintiff. The defendant may admit, deny, or file a counterclaim, asserting its own claims against the plaintiff.


The discovery phase allows both parties to exchange relevant documents and information, laying the groundwork for the trial. This process includes examinations for discovery, where parties question each other and potential witnesses under oath and the exchange of relevant documents.

Mediation or Settlement (Dispute Note Form)

Parties may decide to explore alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before proceeding to trial. This involves the use of a dispute note form to initiate or participate in processes such as mediation or settlement discussions. The dispute note form outlines each party’s positions, concerns, and desired outcomes, facilitating a more structured negotiation process.


If a resolution cannot be reached through mediation or settlement, the case proceeds to trial. The trial involves presenting evidence, examining witnesses, and making legal arguments. A judge makes a decision based on the presented evidence and legal arguments.

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Civil Claim In Alberta?

There are several fees involved when making a civil claim in Alberta Courts.

Court Fees

The cost of filing a civil claim in Alberta includes court fees, which vary based on the nature and monetary value of the claim. Small claims court fees differ from those for larger claims. Understanding the fee structure is essential for individuals considering legal action.

Legal Representation

Engaging legal representation, such as hiring a lawyer, adds another dimension to the cost of making a civil claim. While legal fees can vary, individuals may be eligible for legal aid or fee waivers, providing financial assistance for those with limited means.


In addition to legal fees, there are additional costs known as disbursements. These include expenses such as court filing fees, process server fees, expert witness fees, and other incidental costs incurred during the legal process.

Cost Recovery

In some cases, the successful party may be entitled to recover a portion of their legal costs from the other party as part of the judgment. Understanding the potential for cost recovery is crucial for parties considering legal action.

Legal Aid

In Alberta, individuals facing financial constraints can explore resources like the Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG) Fund and the Alberta Law Foundation for assistance. The CLG Fund provides support to those in need of legal aid, while the Alberta Law Foundation allocates funds to various legal initiatives, contributing to enhanced access to justice.

How Do I Respond to a Civil Claim In Alberta?

If served with a civil claim, the defendant must respond promptly and comprehensively to protect their interests. Responding involves key steps that demand timely attention.

The first step is the filing of a Statement of Defense. This document serves as the defendant’s formal response, addressing each allegation made by the plaintiff. It outlines the defendant’s position, asserts defences, and provides counterarguments where necessary, setting the groundwork for subsequent legal proceedings.

In some instances, defendants may choose to file a counterclaim against the plaintiff, asserting shared liability for damages or legal consequences. Understanding the implications of this strategic move is vital.


Failure to respond within the specified timeframe may result in a default judgment favoring the plaintiff. This emphasizes the urgency of timely and diligent responses to civil claims, highlighting the proactive role defendants play in shaping their defence throughout the legal process.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Civil Claim In Alberta?

While individuals have the right to file a civil claim without legal representation, seeking the advice and assistance of an expert in Alberta Civil Law is highly recommended. Lawyers play a crucial role in various aspects of the civil claim process:

Determining Legal Merits

Lawyers assess the legal merits of a case, providing insight into the likelihood of success. This involves evaluating the evidence, applicable laws, and potential legal defences.

Document Preparation

Lawyers assist in preparing the necessary legal documents, ensuring they meet court requirements and adhere to legal standards. This includes drafting the Statement of Claim, Statement of Defense, and other relevant documents.

Procedural Guidance

Navigating the legal process can be complex and daunting for individuals without legal training. Lawyers provide guidance on court procedures, filing requirements, and deadlines, ensuring that all steps are followed correctly.

Negotiation and Settlement

Lawyers can facilitate negotiations and settlement discussions on behalf of their clients. Skilled negotiation can lead to mutually agreeable resolutions, potentially avoiding the need for a full trial.

Representation At Trial

In cases that proceed to trial, having legal representation ensures that the party’s interests are effectively presented to the court. Lawyers advocate for their clients, present evidence, examine witnesses, and make legal arguments during the trial.

Legal Costs and Fee Arrangements

Lawyers can clarify legal costs, potential fee arrangements, and the availability of legal aid or fee waivers. Understanding the financial aspects of legal representation is crucial for individuals contemplating hiring a lawyer.

he laws surrounding civil claims can be complex and confusing, and the process can get overwhelming. If you want to lay a civil claim against someone or have received a civil claim against yourself, contact DLegal today. Our experienced civil lawyers know the ins and outs of Alberta Civil Law and Alberta court procedures, and we will help you with advice and guidance on any civil claim matter, from big to small claims.


The DLegal team is here to support. We will do our best to assist or connect you with those who can help.

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