08 May 2012 ~ 0 Comments

BC announces major ODR initiative

Online civil dispute tools to save time, money

“VICTORIA – B.C. plans to create the first-ever tribunal in Canada that offers a full array of online tools to allow British Columbians to solve common strata and small civil claims outside of courts, Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond announced today.

If passed, the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act will create an independent tribunal offering 24/7 online dispute resolution tools to families and small business owners as a speedy and cost-effective alternative to going to court. The tribunal would address disputes by providing parties with information that may prevent disputes from growing and resolve disputes by consent or, where necessary, by an independent tribunal hearing. Resolving a dispute through the tribunal is expected to take about 60 days, compared to 12 to 18 months for small claims court.

Giving families alternatives to seeking solutions in court is among the B.C. government’s justice reform initiatives to achieve efficiencies and deal with growing resource pressures. The February 2012 Green Paper, Modernizing British Columbia’s Justice System, identified tribunals as a simple and less expensive solution to easing delays in the court system.”

Quote from Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond –

“Both individuals and business owners will find this a convenient and affordable way of reaching agreements. Few people want to go to court to solve a legal dispute, which can be costly, intimidating and time consuming. A tribunal offers an innovative alternative to settling a dispute in a faster, more amicable way.”

This is very exciting news!  Let’s hope other Ministries of Justice soon follow suit…

Addition: here’s more detail from the Vancouver Sun (h/t Graham)

http://www.vancouversun.com/touch/technology/story.html?id=6581436

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