Does the Notice of Objection Mechanism Available to Civil Resolution Tribunal Small Claims Parties Enhance Access to Justice?
UBC Law Review 54:1, Forthcoming
35 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2020
Date Written: August 28, 2020
Parties to small claims disputes at the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) have the option to file a Notice of Objection to the CRT decision. This Notice of Objection makes CRT decision void and unenforceable, and provides the parties the opportunity to re-litigate the matter via de novo trial at provincial court. This paper tracks all CRT small claims decisions that were objected in a 12 month period, and using Richard Susskind’s categories of justice, attempts to determine whether the Notice of Objection is a justice enhancing mechanism. The results show that 36.8% of claims that were objected to never even began the process of re-litigating with the provincial court. Filing the claim with the provincial court increased the time the litigants spent interacting with the judicial system by an average of 7.2 months, and never resulted in a ruling that fully overturned the CRT’s decision. The empirical research shows that the NoO mechanism is not a justice-enhancing mechanism for CRT small claims litigants. The NoO mechanism should therefore be removed, and small claims should be subject to judicial review, bringing them in line with the rest of the CRT claims.
Keywords: Civil Resolution Tribunal, Notice of Objection, Access to Justice, Proportionality, Empirical Legal Research
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