Inching towards the digital age
Shannon Salter knows the world is watching. The pressure is palpable as she launches Canada’s — and the world’s — first government-sponsored online dispute resolution forum in British Columbia, the Civil Resolution Tribunal.
“We’ve done a big chunk of user testing of the system and we’re doing more testing now,” says Salter, chairwoman of the CRT. Watching intently are Quebec and Ontario, which are closest to launching versions, while Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Atlantic provinces also sit back and wait.
At the launch, she says, CRT will handle only strata cases (condominium disputes), the sector with the most pressing access-to-justice issue. It costs $25,000 to $35,000 to take a case to trial and thus the majority aren’t litigated. The CRT will cost just $200 to file and lawyers are optional. “These issues tear at the fabric of the community, because condos are a community,” says Salter. “We have to give people a way to resolve these issues. Because most of them never go to court, we have no idea how many we will get. Ultimately, it could be 15,000 to 20,000 cases a year.”
This content has been updated on 08/09/2016 at 8 h 24 min.