Tribunal Decision Process
What is the tribunal decision process?
If you can’t resolve your dispute by agreement during negotiation or facilitation, you can request it go through the tribunal decision process, also known as adjudication. This process is adversarial. This means that one of the CRT’s tribunal members will consider the evidence and the parties’ arguments and make a binding decision. The CRT member may also make orders for the parties to pay money or do certain things.
How does the tribunal decision process work?
The facilitator will usually help the parties to create a Tribunal Decision Plan to get ready for the tribunal decision process. This plan will include timelines for you to provide the CRT and the other parties with the evidence and arguments you want the tribunal member to consider.
You will get a chance to respond to evidence and arguments provided by the other parties.
All of this information will go to the tribunal member assigned to decide the dispute. However, communications between the parties to try to reach an agreement during the facilitation phase are confidential, and are not provided to the tribunal member.
In the tribunal decision process, a CRT member considers each party’s arguments and evidence. This is usually done in writing. Sometimes telephone or video is used too. The CRT member will apply the law to the evidence, consider the parties’ arguments, and make a decision about how to resolve the dispute. The decision is binding and enforceable, just like a court order.
Can I use a lawyer?
You are welcome to use a lawyer or a trusted friend or family member to help you with negotiation, facilitation, and the tribunal decision process. But it’s important for you to be there to speak for yourself in the dispute too.
If you are a minor or have impaired mental capacity, you are also welcome to use a lawyer to represent you. If you are a minor involved in a personal injury claim, you must use a lawyer to represent you.
If you have other reasons for wanting a lawyer or other trusted friend or family member to do all the talking for you, just let us know in the application form and we’ll consider your request. Under the tribunal’s rules, fees charged by lawyers or other representatives are not usually reimbursable, even if you are successful in your dispute.
The CRT process allows people to resolve their disputes at different times, from different places, in ways that work best for them. Everyone doesn’t have to show up at the same place, with limited time to get things done. If you need to take a bit of time to think, we encourage you to consult a trusted helper or get legal advice.
What are some common kinds of evidence?
During the facilitation phase, evidence can help others in the dispute better understand your claim. During the tribunal decision process, the tribunal member will consider the parties’ evidence and submissions in deciding the outcome of the dispute. There are many types of evidence, but here are some of the most common kinds.
- Photos – photos help the CRT understand your dispute. Photos are particularly helpful in showing damage, physical layouts, or things that are difficult to describe. Please submit clear photos with a high resolution. Include a description of what is shown in the photo, and the date the photo was taken.
- Contracts – provide a copy of the contract. Also include communications related to your contract.
- Correspondence – letters, emails or other correspondence about the dispute. Make sure you don’t submit multiple copies of the same correspondence. For example, an e-mail chain that includes multiple copies of the same e-mail.
- Statements – this can include written statements from a witness or expert. Witness or expert statements should be signed, dated, and sent to the person requesting the statement. The person requesting an expert statement or opinion must submit a copy to the CRT and to the other parties in the dispute. They must also provide:
- The letter from the party to the expert requesting the expert statement or opinion, and
- Information about the expert’s experience and background to explain what makes the person an expert
- Minutes – copies of strata meeting meetings that relate to your dispute. For example, strata council meetings, or strata AGMs. Make sure the minutes include the date of the meeting.
- Complaint letters – if there is a complaint by or to a strata, a copy of the complaint letter, as well as any response.
- Bylaw infraction letters – if you have received or sent a bylaw infraction letter, a copy of the notice of bylaw infraction that was sent to the owner, as well as any response.
Personal Injury Claims
- You should provide medical information to support the damages in your claim. Medical information can include things like reports and assessments completed by medical practitioners, receipts for medical services, and other items.
- Agreement – a copy of the contract or agreement for the amount owed.
- Payment records – this is evidence about which party made payments, for how much, and on what date.
- Demand letter – A “demand letter” is a letter sent from the creditor (the person who lent money) to the debtor (the person who owes money), asking that the debt be repaid. You should also include any response to the “demand letter”, for example, correspondence saying they will or won’t pay.
How will the CRT decide my dispute?
If the parties are not able to reach an agreement in facilitation, they will provide their arguments and evidence about the dispute to the tribunal.
Usually, the tribunal holds written hearings, which means the tribunal member will carefully review the parties’ arguments and evidence, and make a binding decision.
Sometimes the tribunal member will decide it’s necessary to hold an oral hearing. If so, the oral hearing will usually be held through telephone or video conferencing.
Parties can also ask for an oral hearing. The tribunal member will consider the reasons for this request in deciding how the hearing should be held.
When will the CRT provide its final decision?
In strata disputes, the tribunal must provide its final decision and any orders resolving the dispute by the date communicated by the facilitator to the parties.
In small claims disputes, the tribunal will provide the final decision by
a) the date communicated by the facilitator to the parties, and
b) provide any orders resolving the dispute after the time for filing a Notice of Objection has passed and only if no objection has been made.
The Notice of Objection procedure is not available for default decisions, including non-compliance decisions. The tribunal will provide orders for default decisions at the same time as the decision.
The Tribunal Chair may extend the time allowed for providing a final decision and orders resolving the dispute.
If the tribunal changes the date for providing its final decision and orders, it will notify the parties of that change.
How will I find out about the tribunal’s decision?
The tribunal’s decisions are in writing. A copy of the decision will be sent to all parties, either by email, mail, or fax. With some exceptions, decisions are also published on the CRT website.
What if I disagree with a small claims decision?
Your options if you disagree with a small claims decision depend on whether the decision is a merit decision or a default decision.
- A merit decision is a decision issued after the parties to the dispute have participated in the tribunal process. A default decision is a decision issued when one or more parties have not participated in the dispute. This includes non-compliance decisions.
- To object to a tribunal small claims merit decision a party must, within 28 days of receiving a Notice of Final Decision, submit a completed Notice of Objection Form to the tribunal and pay the required fee.
- Once a Notice of Objection Form has been submitted, the tribunal will provide the parties with a copy of the Notice of Objection Form and a Certificate of Completion indicating that the parties have completed the tribunal’s process.
- The parties can then take the Certificate of Completion to the BC Provincial Court, pay a fee, and file a new small claims process with the court.
- To object to a small claims default decision, a party can apply to cancel the decision. The Notice of Objection procedure is not available for default decisions, including non-compliance decisions. The party must give the tribunal reasons for why it thinks the tribunal should cancel the decision.
What if I disagree with a strata decision?
A party which disagrees with a CRT strata decision can apply to the BC Supreme Court.
- If the Dispute Notice was issued before January 1, 2019 the party will have to ask the BC Supreme Court for permission (called “leave”) to appeal the decision.
- If the Dispute Notice was issued on January 1, 2019 or later, the party can ask the BC Supreme Court for judicial review of the CRT decision.