Shannon Salter, Chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal, provided an update on the implementation of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), on February 25, 2016.
The CRT process is intended to be flexible, affordable, and convenient for users who want to resolve their small claims or strata property issues as quickly as possible. Once fully implemented, the CRT will be an accessible and user-friendly tribunal that leads users through an online dispute-resolution process. It will be available 24 hours a day to anyone with an internet connection, and will provide users with greater control in resolving their small claims or strata property issues outside of the courts.
The CRT is now testing the first phase of its dispute resolution process. The Solution Explorer will provide members of the public with free legal information, self-help tools, and templates in multiple languages. British Columbians will be able to use the Solution Explorer to learn more about their small claims or strata property issues and options before they start a claim.
You can visit the CRT’s website to join the closed public beta testing for the Solution Explorer, and gain access to legal information and resources that will help you manage or resolve your dispute.
If a party decides to initiate a claim through the CRT, they will be able to invite the other party to resolve the dispute through direct negotiations online. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement on their own, a case manager or facilitator can support further discussions. If the parties are not able to reach a satisfactory result with the help of a facilitator, a member of the CRT can adjudicate the dispute and make a binding decision.
The CRT’s decisions or orders can be filed and enforced as an order of the BC Provincial or Supreme Court. Decisions relating to strata property issues may be appealed to the BC Supreme Court in limited circumstances, while decisions relating to small claims issues may be appealed to the Provincial or Supreme Court.
The CRT recently completed testing of its claims intake process. It will continue with closed public testing of its Solution Explorer through March 2016. A public version of the Solution Explorer may launch on the CRT’s website later this year. Testing of the Dispute Resolution Suite, including negotiation, facilitation, and adjudication services, may commence later this year.
The CRT is currently conducting a survey to determine the fee structure for resolving a claim. There will likely be a fee to start a claim, although low income participants may qualify for fee waivers.