Civil Resolution Tribunal expands BC small claims

Langley and Surrey Civil Litigation Lawyer

Starting June 1, 2017, access to justice in BC may get a little easier. Changes to the court system will enable disputes of under $5,000 to be resolved using a novel online system called the Civil Resolution Tribunal. In addition, the maximum claim amount for regular small claims at provincial court will be raised from $25,000 to $35,000

What has changed?

Previously, litigants with claims from up to $25,000 had to go through provincial court to resolve their disputes. This involved filing at the court and attending a hearing in front of a judge to resolve the matter. This could at times be a confusing and time consuming process, often requiring the assistance of a lawyer. The Civil Resolution Tribunal aims to facilitate the resolution of small disputes (under $5,000) using an online system, leaving the court available to deal with larger and more complex claims.

Under the new system taking effect on June 1, litigants will be able to resolve small disputes about contracts, strata property, debts, personal injury, property and consumer complaints using the Civil Resolution Tribunal. Parties will be able to represent themselves in qualifying claims using the online tribunal from home or on the run by laptop, tablet or smartphone.

The new system will encourage individuals to tackle their legal issues without hiring a lawyer. In fact, the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act states that as a general rule, parties must represent themselves. Lawyers are not allowed unless specifically permitted by tribunal rules, the Act, or the tribunal itself. To assist individuals in navigating the process, the online system will provide self-help, guidance and information resources to the public.

These are exciting changes for British Columbia’s legal system. As the program gets underway, the new rules should increase access to justice and make it easier for litigants to self-represent.

How can I find out more?

For more information about the developments, see the provincial government’s news release here. To read more about the Civil Resolution Tribunal, visit their website at www.civilresolutionbc.ca.

 

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