The Civil Resolution Tribunal and the Intersection of Procedure, Jurisdiction, Politics and Rights

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is a tribunal in British Columbia (BC), Canada that promises to “bring the justice system to the public” through a user-friendly online interface. Its beginnings were humble: starting in July 2016, the CRT decided condo, non-profit and small claims disputes (<$5,000). At the same time, something else was in motion. After 2018 reports that the province of BC’s state-run motor vehicle insurance corporation was in financial crisis, sweeping substantive and procedural changes were announced, including the rapid expansion of CRT jurisdiction. One response was a partly successful constitutional challenge that argued the changes violate rights and “limits access to justice… by creating layers of litigation and undue hardship.” What are the implications for the CRT’s legitimacy, a young institution designed for straightforward claims? Do the cost-saving measures foisted on it by an external political crisis undermine its broader promises of justice?