|For immediate release||June 5, 2012|
Law Society looks forward to working with government to implement Bill 44
Vancouver – Bill 44, the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, received Royal Assent on May 31, 2012.
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 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. 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.
“While our review of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act raised some concerns,” said Bruce LeRose, QC, president of the Society, “we hope that the 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 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.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
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