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

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is the first online tribunal in Canada. It promises to bring the justice system to the public through an online interface that takes litigants from negotiation to adjudication. It had humble beginnings: starting in 2016, the CRT decided condo disputes, then expanded to non-profits and small claims under 5,000. But something else was in motion. British Columbia’s state-run vehicle insurance company, ICBC, was in financial crisis. Sweeping changes were announced in 2018, including the rapid expansion of CRT jurisdiction to motor vehicle claims under 50,000 and a host of procedural rules that impede potential recovery. One response was a constitutional challenge by the Trial Lawyers Association, who argue the changes “violate rights and limits access to justice.. by creating layers of litigation and undue hardship for claimants.” What are the implications for the legitimacy of the CRT? Can justice survive in a political, administrative and digital era?