Civil claims $5,000 and under to be dealt with online

Effective June 1, small claims of up to $5,000 will be dealt with online through a Civil Resolution Tribunal rather than through the provincial court's small claims process, the B.C. Ministry of Justice said Monday.

At the same time, the upper limit of civil cases heard in provincial court will increase to $35,000.

article continues below

Justice Minister Susan Anton called the move a "giant step forward for access to justice."

It will make it easier for British Columbians to "resolve their legal disputes more affordably, and with less complexity," she added in a press release.

Claims filed before June 1 will still be considered under the old system.The CRT will provide a three-step process beginning with negotiation to see if the parties can settle the dispute between themselves. If that doesn't work, trained staff will try to help and if the parties still remain at odds, a CRT member may make a decision similar to a court order.

The CRT will have authority over claims involving debt or damages, recovery of personal property, opposing claims to personal property and demands of performance of an agreement about personal property or services.

Claims for defamation, filed against the government, that may involve a conflict between the Human Rights Code and another law and cases "too complex or otherwise impractical" are among those exempted from the CRT's authority.

Likewise, CRT findings can be appealed to to the provincial court within 28 days of receiving CRT's final decision.

But measures will be in place to prevent abuse of that step.

First, a judge may order the objecting party to deposit money, up to the amount of the award, plus security for costs. And if the defendant at the CRT failed to file a response and then filed an appeal, in most cases the judge must make an order for payment of the money, if the other party requests it.

Moreover, if the objecting party wins less at trial than at the CRT, the judge may order them to pay a penalty of up to 20 per cent of the CRT award. It is only at this point, after making a decision, that the judge hearing a trial will see the CRT decision.

The CRT already deals with claims involving strata property issues.

"We're focussed on providing convenient, timely, and affordable dispute resolution services that work around people's busy lives," CRT chair Shannon Salter said in the release.

Further details on how the new process will work can be found at the B.C. Provincial Court website.

Read Related Topics


NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Prince George Citizen welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. Comments that contain external links will not be permitted. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

Trudeau Conflict of Interest POLL

Should the RCMP investigate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for obstruction of justice after the ethics commissioner found Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act in the SNC-Lavalin affair?

or  view results

Sign Up For Our e-Newsletter!
  • 97/16

    Prince George's Weekly News

Popular Citizen

Community Event Calendar

Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.

Lowest Gas Prices in Prince George
Prince George Gas Prices provided by