Notice to the Profession
June 05, 2012

This notice is further to the Law Society's earlier notice to the profession regarding Bill 44, the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, which received Royal Assent on May 31, 2012.

The Ministry of Justice has indicated that it will take a number of months to develop the necessary infrastructure, procedures and rules for the online dispute process and establish the administration necessary to support the process. Further to that end, the Ministry will be creating a working group to assist with the implementation, including representation by the Law Society and others in the legal community.

The Law Society is confident that participation of the legal community in the implementation working group will ensure that the promise of a voluntary dispute resolution process is fulfilled without compromising the integrity of the justice system and the rule of law.

The Act creates a voluntary process for the resolution of strata and small claims disputes, including provision for online services to assist in the resolution of disputes by agreement.

The Act provides for three progressive stages. The first stage will involve party-to-party negotiations using online tools. The next stage will involve a case manager, who will attempt to facilitate a resolution. The final stage will be a tribunal hearing which would result in a binding decision.

While the Act generally provides that the parties not be represented by a lawyer in a tribunal proceeding, a lawyer may represent a child or a person with impaired capacity and as the rules permit in the interests of justice and fairness. However, participants are at liberty to consult with a lawyer at any stage.

Legislative amendments concerning leave to appeal

The Court of Appeal Act and Court of Appeal Rules have been amended to provide a new process for seeking leave to appeal. Section 7 of the Court of Appeal Act now refers to a codified list of orders, called "limited appeal orders," from which parties must seek leave to appeal. When considering an appeal, lawyers should examine the list of "limited appeal orders" in Rule 2.1 of the Court of Appeal Rules to determine if leave to appeal is required.

The changes are effective May 31, 2012. The change to section 7 of the Court of Appeal Act may be found in section 2 of the Justice Statues Amendment Act, 2012. Orders in council bringing these changes into effect may be found in Orders in Council Nos. 355 and 359.