Starting a Dispute
1 Get Started with the Solution Explorer
Get started by using the Solution Explorer. It has free legal information and tools. Use the Solution Explorer to properly classify your dispute and get the correct application form. If your type of dispute is something the CRT can take, at the end of your exploration you’ll get a Summary Report with a link to start your application for dispute resolution.
2 (Strata disputes only) Request a Strata Council Hearing
For strata disputes, you must request a hearing with your strata council before applying for dispute resolution with the CRT. If you apply for dispute resolution without first requesting a hearing, the CRT will direct you to request a hearing before accepting your dispute. If you have a good reason why you cannot request a hearing, the CRT may waive this requirement.
3 Apply online or by paper form
At the end of your Solution Explorer exploration, you’ll see a Summary Report. The Summary Report has a button to begin your application for dispute resolution, if you can’t resolve your dispute on your own. You’ll see an application checklist to review before starting.
If you’re having difficulty with the Solution Explorer, or want a paper application form, contact us.
4 Pay the application fee
You can pay your application fee online, or by mailing a cheque or paying in person at a ServiceBC location.
We’re committed to access to justice for all British Columbians. If you can’t afford the application fee, you can ask the CRT for a fee waiver. You can request this at the end of your online application, or by submitting a paper form.
Read more about CRT fees.
5 Get your dispute notice package
Once the CRT accepts your application and confirms the application fee has been paid, we’ll send you a Dispute Notice package. It has the information you submitted about your dispute and your next steps.
6 Provide the dispute notice to all parties
You must provide a copy of the Dispute Notice package to all parties in the dispute.
This must be done within a certain timeframe, and by certain delivery methods only. If you don’t follow these rules, the CRT might dismiss your dispute.
See your Dispute Notice package for details.
7 Submit your Proof of Notice
After you provide the Dispute Notice to the other parties, you must submit a Proof of Notice form.
You can do this online. Your Dispute Notice has the URL and login details.
You must submit your Proof of Notice within 10 days of providing the Dispute Notice to the other parties.
8 Wait for the other parties to respond
After you’ve provided your Dispute Notice to the other parties, you’ll have to wait for them to respond.
We’ll send you a copy of their response when we receive it, or let you know if they don’t respond within the applicable timeframe.
If they do respond, we’ll let you know what the next steps are. This will depend on whether they agree with your claim, disagree with your claim, make a counterclaim against you, or make a claim against a third party.
If they don’t respond, you can apply for a default decision and order.
Can I hire a lawyer or have someone else help me with my application?
The CRT is designed to be used without being represented by a lawyer.
But you are welcome to have a helper. This helper can be a lawyer if you want, or a trusted friend or family member. Helpers can help you fill out paperwork and deal with the CRT. However, a helper can’t speak on your behalf.
If you need someone to speak on your behalf, and you aren’t a minor or someone with impaired mental capacity, you can ask the CRT for permission to have a representative. Our online application form guides you through this.
How do I name parties in my application for dispute resolution?
Sometimes it can be complicated to name the other parties, especially if you are dealing with a strata corporation or a business.
The online application form and staff members will help you figure out how to name the other parties properly. This is important, because if you want to enforce a decision against them, you’ll need to have named them accurately.
Read more about identifying parties.
Do I need to start my claim within a certain time period?
Any legal claim that can go to a court or a tribunal almost always has to be started within a set period of time. After this time runs out, a court or tribunal can refuse to consider your claim, no matter how strong your case would have been.
The time limit is called a limitation period. It’s like a countdown that only stops once a case is started with the CRT or a court.
Learn more about limitation periods.
Can the CRT refuse my application?
The CRT may refuse to issue a Dispute Notice if you do not provide the requested information or payment by the requested date.
The CRT may also refuse to issue a Dispute Notice if the claim is not in CRT jurisdiction, or the limitation period has expired.
If the CRT refuses to issue a Dispute Notice, you may re-apply to the CRT. However, it’s likely the CRT will take the same action, unless you are able to provide the required information and payment.