I Want To Dispute A Civil Resolution Tribunal Decision. What Are My Options?

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is BC’s online tribunal that offers a collaborative approach to resolving disputes. The CRT handles certain motor vehicle accidents, small claims under $5,000, strata property disputes, and disputes with societies and cooperatives.

The CRT process, for the most part, is designed for parties to resolve issues without the assistance of lawyers. However, the process gets a lot more complicated when you receive a CRT decision you do not agree with.

If you do not agree with a final decision from the CRT, then you may seek judicial review in BC Supreme Court. However, it is important to keep in mind that a Judicial Review of a CRT decision is not a re-hearing of the issues. Judicial Review at its core looks for mistakes in the reasoning or process of the CRT decision. If the reviewing court identifies these mistakes, they will highlight the mistakes and send them back to the CRT to make a new decision without making the same mistakes.

What is Judicial Review?

Judicial Review is a review conducted by the BC Supreme Court to see if the CRT’s decision was reasonable or correct, or whether the decision-making process was procedurally fair. A Judicial Review is sought by filing a petition with the Supreme Court.

A Judicial Review is different from the traditional appeal process for decisions made in a court. There are limits on what issues can be reviewed by the court, and the standard of review that the reviewing court can employ.

Different CRT decisions are reviewed on different standards depending on the nature of the issue and the pre-determined expertise of the CRT over the issue. There are four different standards of review that a reviewing court will apply, depending on the type of the claim:

  • The Reasonableness Standard
  • The Patent Unreasonableness Standard
  • The Correctness Standard
  • Procedural Fairness

Each standard has its own rules and limitations as to how a reviewing court can conduct its review. The difference between the standards of review can get complicated – you may want to seek legal advice on this issue.

How do I know which standard of review applies to my Judicial Review?

Determining the correct standard of review for a particular issue can be complicated. Luckily, the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, S.B.C. 2012, c. 25 (“the CRT Act”) provides some guidance on this point.

The applicable standard of review will depend on the issue in question. In general, the applicable standard of review for issues the CRT has no specialized expertise over are:

  • For a finding of fact – whether there is evidence to support the finding or reasonableness.
  • For the application of common law rules of natural justice and procedural fairness – whether the tribunal acted fairly.
  • For discretionary decisions – patent unreasonableness.
  • For all other issues – correctness.

The CRT has specialized expertise over certain areas of law. These areas are:

  • certain strata claims (set out in s. 121(1) of the CRT Act);
  • certain cooperative association claims (set out in s. 125 of the CRT Act);
  • certain society claims (set out in s. 129 of the CRT Act);
  • the liability and damages for motor vehicle accident claims (set out in s. 133 of the CRT Act); and
  • the determination of responsibility by ICBC of fault for motor vehicle accident claims (set out in s. 133 of the CRT Act).

The CRT also has exclusive jurisdiction over certain issues. These are:

  • the determination by an insurer of entitlement to benefits paid or payable under the Insurance Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 231, for motor vehicle accident claims; and
  • the determination of whether an injury is a minor injury for motor vehicle accident claims (set out in s. 133(2) of the CRT Act).

If the CRT has specialized expertise or exclusive jurisdiction over an issue, a higher standard of review is applicable. The standard of review is:

  • For findings of fact or law or an exercise of discretion – patent unreasonableness.
  • For questions of procedural fairness – whether the tribunal acted fairly.
  • For all other matters – correctness.

Is there a time limit for seeking Judicial Review?

There is a time limit of 60 days after the CRT decision is issued to file a petition for Judicial Review. In limited circumstances, the Court may permit you to file a Judicial Review past the 60-day deadline.

What happens after a Judicial Review?

While in limited circumstances the reviewing court will make a final decision on a Judicial Review, the usual result of a successful Judicial Review of a CRT decision is to send the decision back to the CRT to make a new decision.

Since the decision will be sent back to the CRT, there is no guarantee that a different decision will be made by the CRT. This is something to consider when starting a Judicial Review petition.

The CRT is a process set up to be procedurally friendly to non-lawyers and aims to be a lawyer-free dispute resolution process. However, the Judicial Review of a CRT decision is quite the opposite and can be difficult to navigate without seeking legal advice.

If you have any questions about the Judicial Review of CRT decisions, please contact Miranda Wardman at [email protected] or by phone at 250-869-1278.

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