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BC To Launch First Online Civil Resolution Tribunal

One year from now, people with small claims and strata property or condominium disputes in BC will have access to North America's first online tribunal. Designed to provide an alternative to court, users will have access to a full array of online tools to help manage and resolve their disputes fairly and quickly.

Named the Civil Resolution Tribunal and slated to launch in the autumn of 2014, it's primary focus will be Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) processes. In addition to using technology as a platform for justice, the Tribunal's goals include providing user-focused, accessible, inexpensive and collaborative dispute resolution services. When it launches, the Tribunal will initially be used to help people diagnose their problems, and then provide specific self-help, information, and support. From there, if a resolution between parties is not found, the Tribunal will provide online negotiation and case management services to resolve or narrow the issues, and to facilitate communication and information sharing between parties. If the parties cannot settle their disputes by agreement, the Tribunal can resolve them through adjudication. Tribunal orders will have the same effect as court judgments.

While the Tribunal is designed to provide the structure and certainty of a public dispute resolution body, it is also being created to have enough flexibility to address the needs of its users and their real-world circumstances. Processes should be simple, informal, and proportionate to the disputes. If online services are not appropriate, the Tribunal will use telephone, video or in-person meetings. Specialized case managers and tribunal members who are assigned to a dispute will have the subject matter expertise to evaluate the circumstances of the dispute and to work with the parties to arrive at an appropriate outcome through the Tribunal.

For more information about the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, please see BC's New Civil Resolution Tribunal by Cheryl Vickers, Slaw Canada's Online Legal Magazine (October 7, 2013) as well as the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act published by the BC Ministry of Justice (October 5, 2012).


David Mills, HUB International PROFESSIONAL

HUB International PROFESSIONAL LAWYERS’ specialists are based in Vancouver and are focused on delivering the best coverage, best value and best service, with winning solutions for small, medium and large firms.

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