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UPDATE on BC Supreme Court rules parts of Civil Resolutions Tribunal Act Unconstitutional

On April 8, 2021 the BC Court of Appeal temporarily suspended the March 2nd, 2021 BC Supreme Court’s decision regarding the jurisdiction of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (the “CRT”).

Currently, you can file a claim with the CRT or the BC Supreme Court to determine whether your claim is a minor injury, fault, and for damages under $50,000. Where damages exceed $50,000, you would file your claim with the BC Supreme Court.

There are important cost implications and different court procedures available in each court, so it is very important to understand the consequences of where you file your claim. This may be a difficult decision to navigate if you are unrepresented. We recommend that you seek legal advice to determine what your next steps are.

The Court of Appeal’s decision is not final. It is effective from April 8, 2021 until the Court of Appeal releases its final decision.

The March 2, 2021 decision:

The BC Supreme Court decided that sections 133(1)(b) and (c) of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act are unconstitutional and no longer in effect. These sections involve part of the CRT’s jurisdiction over motor vehicle injury (MVI) disputes.

This means that for motor vehicle accidents that happened on or after April 1, 2019, the CRT cannot decide:

  • if an injury is a “minor injury” for the purposes of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act; or

  • Claims for liability and personal injury and property damage of up to $50,000.

The court also decided that section 16.1 of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act does not apply to these two areas. Previously, this section required the court to dismiss or to stay a claim filed in court that related to either of these areas so that it could proceed at the CRT instead.

The CRT can still decide:

  • whether a person is entitled to accident benefits under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act; and

  • small claims motor vehicle accident disputes for damages up to $5,000

What does this mean for my Motor Vehicle Injury (“MVI”) dispute?

The CRT is reviewing how the court decision will impact existing MVI disputes. If your existing, unresolved dispute involves a minor injury determination and/or a claim for liability or damages, the CRT will “pause” the dispute for now. The CRT staff will release more information with parties to update them as more information becomes available.

If your existing MVI dispute includes a claim for accident benefits, that claim will continue through the CRT process.

For more information go to the CRT’s website here.

*All information collected from the CRT’s website here.


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