Court Services Online: civil searches now available
Lawyers can now search via the internet for basic information on civil court proceedings in any registry of the BC Supreme Court or Provincial Court through the new "e-search" service of Court Services Online.
Court Services Online is a project of the Ministry of Attorney General, in cooperation with the judiciary.
What court registry information is searchable online?
Civil records may be searched by party name, file number or date of filing. Users may also search a specific registry, court level or type of proceeding. There are limitations on access to information in some types of proceedings, particularly family matters. Subject to these limitations, the following court registry information is accessible:
- file number
- type of file
- date opened
- registry location
- party names/style of cause
- counsel names
- claim amount
- list of filed documents*
- appearance details
- terms of order
- caveat details
* The documents themselves are not accessible online through the e-search service.
How much will searches cost?
Beginning in November, there will be an access service fee of $6 per file. For this fee, users will have access to all of the information available on a particular file and can print any screen of interest. A file summary report, providing an itemized report of all the information available about the file in a single document, will be available for an additional $6 fee.
All e-search service fees will be payable online by credit card.
How will law firms access the service?
Lawyers, their staff and any other person will be able to access e-search feature of Court Services Online directly via the internet. Computer requirements include a recent version of either Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape web browser and a high-speed internet connection
The use of a user ID and log-in will be optional. Firms will have the option of setting up an e-search account through registration with Court Services Online.
What is ahead for Court Services Online?
Enhancements to the e-search service are planned for early 2005. These include access to information on proceedings in the BC Court of Appeal and access to court lists for Supreme Court chambers and small claims proceedings. Court Services Online expects to introduce e-filing of civil court documents in the Provincial Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in 2006.
While the scope of e-filing has yet to be finalized, Court Services Online expects to accommodate originating documents in all levels of court, a majority of documents in Provincial Court family and small claims matters and a majority of documents in BC Supreme Court civil matters. In general, to e-file a document in a court registry, a law firm will convert the document to portable document format (PDF) using Adobe Acrobat software and file the document via the Court Services Online site.