THE ADVOCATE 567
VOL. 76 PART 4 JULY 2018
are sufficiently flexible that they may be adapted in whatever manner
might be considered necessary to address the petitioners’ concerns
related to a just and fair evaluation of the parties’ credibility.11
The court dismissed the petition and remitted the matter back to the CRT
“for determination in the ordinary course of its rules and procedures.”12
The second case, The Owners, Strata Plan BCS 1721 v. Watson, was decided
on February 2, 2018.13 The case involved a claim by a strata property owner
that the strata corporation charged unreasonable and unfair moving fees.
The matter was decided by the CRT in favour of the strata property owner
and the CRT’s decision was upheld in all respects by the B.C. Supreme Court
In Watson, the court concluded that the appropriate standard of review
was reasonableness, not correctness. In doing so, it noted:
The purpose of the CRT is to provide an accessible, flexible and speedy
dispute resolution process to parties involved in strata claims falling
within s. 3.6 (1) of the CRTA. The CRT’s online processes and emphasis
on facilitated dispute resolution are intended to provide the parties with
a quick and less expensive form of decision making than adjudication in
the Supreme Court. This factor militates in favour of the presumptive
standard of reasonableness.14
Applying this standard, the court held that the CRT did not make any
reviewable errors. It further pointed out that the CRT’s findings would have
survived a correctness standard in any event.15
ADVANTAGES OF THE CRT OVER THE TRADITIONAL CIVIL JUSTICE SYSTEM
The CRT presents a new and different way of resolving disputes, which for
some matters offers significant advantages over the traditional adversarial
About 42,000 general civil cases were filed last year.16 In the same time
period there were just over 300 trials.17 While the traditional justice system is
set up to be a trial system, it tries less than one per cent of cases. The CRT, by
contrast, is set up to be a settlement system. It is focused on education and dispute
prevention and, throughout the process, works to help the parties reach
a collaborative resolution. Adversarial adjudications become the focus only
when the parties show they are unable to resolve their dispute by agreement.
CRT members are assigned cases in accordance with their expertise.
Most are hired to be part-time members, called upon only when required.
By contrast, a single B.C. Supreme Court judge may hear claims about adoption,
appeals, bankruptcy, contracts, corporations, criminal matters,
divorce, environmental law, foreclosures, guardianship, judicial review,
medical malpractice, negligence, probate, real property and other matters.