Civil Resolution Tribunal Procedures (20:App H)
The Civil Resolution Tribunal is designed to facilitate dispute resolution in a way that is accessible, speedy, economical and flexible. It relies heavily on electronic communication tools. It will focus on resolution by agreement of the parties first, and by the Tribunal’s binding decisions if no agreement is reached. Resolving a dispute through the Tribunal has up to three stages, described in detail below. The full proposed model can be viewed at: http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/civil-resolution-tribunal-act/pdfs/CRT-Business-Model.pdf. Please note that there have been amendments made to the Civil Resolution Tribunal process since the original proposed model was released. Most notably, the process will be mandatory starting in 2016 for claims up to $10,000.
First Phase – Self Help
If required under the rules, a claimant must attempt to resolve the dispute using the tribunal’s online dispute resolution services. The claimant may first use the website’s resources to gather information and diagnose their claim. The parties may then engage in an online negotiation that is monitored but not mediated or adjudicated. This tool will guide the parties through a structured negotiation phase.
If a claimant’s attempt at online dispute resolution has been unsuccessful, the claimant must formally request resolution of the claim through the tribunal and pay all required fees. A claimant cannot request tribunal resolution if there is a court proceeding or other legally binding process to resolve the claim that has reached a stage specified in the rules.
If the other party does not agree to tribunal resolution or does not reply to the request for tribunal resolution, the tribunal will not resolve the claim unless the defendant is required to participate under either a statute or a court order.
Despite the consent of both parties, the tribunal retains authority to refuse to resolve a claim or dispute and may exercise this authority at any point before making a final decision resolving the dispute. The general authority for refusing to resolve a claim or dispute is set out in s. 11 of the CRTA.
Second Phase – Case Management
The purpose of the case management phase is to facilitate an agreement between the parties and to prepare for the tribunal hearing should it be required. The Preparation for Tribunal Hearing phase may be conducted at the same time as the Facilitated Dispute Resolution phase.
Facilitated Dispute Resolution (FDR)
A case manager will determine which FDR processes are appropriate for a particular dispute and has the authority to require the parties to participate. FDR may be conducted in person, in writing, by telephone, via videoconferencing, via email, via other electronic communication tools, or a combination of these methods. These negotiations will be mediated by the case manager.
Preparation for Tribunal Hearing
If the FDR process does not result in a settlement, the case manager will assist the parties in preparing for adjudication by ensuring the parties understand each other’s positions and by directing the exchange of evidence. Most of this exchange and communication will occur online.
Third Phase - Adjudication
Adjudicators will decide most cases by reviewing the evidence and arguments submitted through the tribunal’s online tools. The adjudicator may order a telephone, video or face-to-face hearing if warranted by the circumstance. The tribunal’s decisions will be binding and may be enforceable as court orders once they are filed with either the BC Provincial Court or BC Supreme Court. The tribunal may make an award of expenses but not for legal costs.
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