Beginning June 1, British Columbians will benefit from innovative changes by the Province when the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) which began resolving disputes up to $5,000 – combined with an increase to $35,000 in Provincial Court’s jurisdiction for small claims cases.
Small claims disputes concerning issues such as contracts, debts, personal injury, personal property and consumer issues within the monetary mandate of the CRT will be resolved faster, and with less complexity and expense, through the online tribunal.
Participants in a dispute can already resolve strata disputes through the CRT on their smartphones, laptops and tablets 24/7, from the convenience and comfort of their own home. Telephone and mail services will also be available for those who can’t access the internet.
This is the first phase of implementing the CRT’s small claims jurisdiction and using the CRT will be mandatory for most claims up to $5,000. Diverting lower-limit monetary claims to the CRT frees capacity within the justice system to resolve other matters.
As the first on-line tribunal in the world that is integrated into the public justice system, the CRT offers free self-help information pathways and tools that can be used to help users better understand the issues and explore early resolution options in strata disputes and small claims. Those who can’t resolve on their own can apply to the CRT for assistance – creating a resolution with the others involved or obtaining an expert decision from a tribunal member. The tribunal has been resolving strata disputes since July 2016, encouraging collaborative agreements and making binding decisions when people cannot agree.
- The first phase of the implementation of small claims will start on June 1, 2017.
- At the same time as the CRT begins resolving small claims up to $5,000, the monetary jurisdiction of the Provincial Court’s Small Claims Division will be increased from $25,000 to $35,000 and the jurisdiction for simplified trials at the Robson Square and Richmond courthouses will be increased to $10,000.
- Since July 2016, more than 280 people have applied to the CRT for dispute resolution.
- People have used the Solution Explorer, the CRT’s online expert system, over 5,000 times – to get free guidance, information and self-help tools for their strata problems.
- Prior to the CRT, the 1.5 million British Columbians who own, live in, or work in strata units had to litigate disputes in the Supreme Court of B.C., where a half-day trial costs tens of thousands of dollars.