Can I have someone help me use the CRT?

When using the CRT, it’s important to speak for yourself if you’re able to. If you want somebody to support you during the CRT process, we encourage you to find a helper. In some cases, you can have a representative speak for you when you use the CRT.

What is a helper?

A helper can assist you with lots of different things.

For example, a helper can:

  • Help you keep organized
  • Take notes
  • Provide you with emotional support
  • Help you fill out online forms

How much help you want your helper to give you is something you should discuss with them in advance.
A helper can’t talk to the CRT on your behalf. You have to do all of the talking, but your helper can be there to support you every step of the way.

What is a Representative?

A representative is a person who is allowed to speak on your behalf at the CRT.

For example, a representative can:

  • Make agreements on your behalf. You’ll have to follow through with whatever your representative agrees to.
  • Discuss your dispute with CRT staff
  • Speak for you during a tribunal hearing

A party who is represented must still be present during facilitation, or otherwise fully informed and providing direct input, unless the facilitator excuses the party from doing so.

FAQ

  • Can I hire a lawyer for my CRT dispute?

    Yes, you can hire a lawyer. You can use them as your helper. Or, if you’re allowed to have a representative, a lawyer can be that representative.

    If you are using a lawyer as your helper, they won’t be able to speak on your behalf. The CRT also won’t be able to talk to your helper about your case. So it’s important that you use your own personal email address and contact information when you’re dealing with the CRT.

    If you are using a lawyer as your representative, they’ll be able to communicate with the CRT on your behalf. The general rule is that you are not allowed to have a representative, without asking for CRT permission, unless you are a minor or someone with impaired mental capacity.

  • Do I need permission to have a helper?

    No, you don’t need our permission to have a helper. You’ll have to do all of the talking, but your helper can be there to support you every step of the way.

  • Who should I choose as a helper?

    You should carefully consider who you choose as a helper. This will depend on your own personal needs. For example, if reading or writing English is difficult for you, be sure that your helper has strong English skills. If you aren’t good with computers, be sure that your helper is.

    Be sure that you can trust your helper with your personal and financial information. You should also be okay with them hearing any issues that may be discussed during the CRT process. You should consider whether your helper has a relationship with the other party to the dispute. If they do, you should consider whether that would make it hard for them to act as your helper.

    Your helper should not be someone who will directly gain or lose based on the outcome of the dispute. They also should not be connected to someone who will gain or lose. Also, you can’t use your helper as a witness.

  • Can I have a representative?

    The general rule is that parties are not allowed to have a representative.

    If you fall into a special category, you may be allowed to have a representative, without needing the CRT’s permission. For example, children and adults with impaired mental capacity are automatically allowed to have a representative.

    If you don’t fall into one of these categories, you’ll have to ask the CRT for permission to have a representative.

  • How do I ask the CRT for permission to have a representative?

    Even if you don’t automatically qualify for a representative, you can still ask for permission to have one. You can do this through your initial application for dispute resolution, or later in the process by completing and giving a Representative Request Form to your facilitator.

    In considering a request for permission to be represented, the CRT may consider whether:

    • Any other party in the dispute is represented and if so, whether that representative is a lawyer or other person supervised by a lawyer
    • Every party in the dispute has agreed to representation
    • The person proposed as the representative is appropriate
    • In the interests of justice and fairness, the party should be permitted to be represented

    If the CRT refuses your request for representation, this decision must be made by a Tribunal member. And if the CRT agrees to let you have a representative, you will still have to be present or provide direct input throughout the process.

  • Who can be a representative?
    • A practicing lawyer or a person supervised by a lawyer in BC.
    • A spouse, a relative, or a friend who has agreed to act as a representative.
    • Another person proposed by the party and permitted by the Tribunal.
  • Who is automatically allowed to have a representative?

    Here are the situations when you are automatically allowed to have a representative, without having to ask the CRT for special permission.


    Children (Under BC law, a child is someone under the age of 19.)

    Litigation Guardian
    A child must participate in the process through a litigation guardian. A litigation guardian is someone 19 years or older. A mother, father or legal guardian will often be the litigation guardian. A person who acts as a litigation guardian can’t also have an opposing interest in the claims relating to the child they are acting for.

    The person acting as a litigation guardian must provide a signed declaration to the Tribunal confirming that they

    • Have the proper authority to act for that child, and
    • They have no conflicting interest with the child in the dispute.

    If no one is willing to act as the litigation guardian, the Public Guardian and Trustee for BC may be willing to do it.

    Representative
    A child can have a representative act for them without requesting permission from the Tribunal.
    If the dispute involves a personal injury, a child must be represented by a lawyer or a person supervised by a lawyer unless the litigation guardian is the Public Guardian and Trustee.


    Adults with impaired mental capacity
    In the Civil Resolution Tribunal, special rules apply to adults with impaired mental capacity.

    We can’t provide a precise definition explaining when an adult does or doesn’t have impaired mental capacity. We can tell you that it usually has to do with things like that adult’s ability to understand the significance or consequences of a decision. It also has to do with that adult’s ability to understand the information needed to make an informed decision.

    An adult might be mentally capable to make some decisions, but not others. An adult might be capable some of the time, but not other times.

    Litigation Guardian
    An adult with impaired mental capacity must participate in the process through a litigation guardian. A litigation guardian must be 19 years or older.

    A person who acts as a litigation guardian can’t also have an opposing interest in the claims relating to the person they are acting for.

    The person acting as a litigation guardian must provide a signed declaration to the Tribunal confirming that they

    • Have the proper authority to act for that adult with impaired mental capacity, and
    • They have no conflicting interest with the adult with impaired mental capacity in the dispute.

    If no one is willing to act as the litigation guardian, the Public Guardian and Trustee for BC may be willing to do it.

    Representative
    An adult with impaired mental capacity can have a representative act for them without requesting permission from the Tribunal.


    Party with insurance coverage
    A party with insurance coverage for a claim may be represented by their insurer. The party still needs to submit a request for representation to the CRT, and have the representative approved.

    An insurer representing a party in a dispute must act through a director or authorized employee of the insurer, or another person permitted by a Tribunal employee or member to represent the insurer.


    Even if you don’t fall into one of these three categories, you can still ask the CRT to be allowed to have a representative. The CRT will consider your circumstances when deciding whether to let you.

  • Can an organization have a representative?

    A party that is an organization isn’t automatically allowed to have a representative. But it still needs to have a person act for it in the dispute resolution process. There are rules about who an organization can act through.

    A party that is a corporation, partnership or other form of organization must act through one of the following:


    Strata corporation
    Authorized member of the strata council


    Incorporated entity
    Director, officer or authorized employee


    Partnership
    Partner or authorized employee


    Unincorporated entity using a business name
    By the owner of the business or any authorized employee


    A person acting for or representing a corporation, partnership or other form of organization must have the authority to bind the party at all stages of the Tribunal dispute resolution process.

    Just like any other party, an organization needs to ask the CRT for permission if it wants to use a representative.

  • Do you have any suggestions for who could assist me?

    You’re welcome to ask a legal professional for advice or, for example, to review a draft agreement. You might want to contact the CBA(BC)’s Lawyer Referral Service. If you can’t afford a lawyer, check out the Access ProBono website or the ClickLaw Helpmap to see if there is a clinic in your community.

    For additional questions about strata matters, contact the Condominium Home Owners Association or the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association.