Civil Resolution Tribunal’s decision to limit the involvement of lawyers was considered unreasonable by the BC Court of Appeal

15. September 2020 0

Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – Civil Resolution Tribunal – Judicial review – Appeals – Legislative compliance – Standard of review – Reasonableness – Condominiums – Strata corporations – Jurisdiction of court

Strata Plan NW 2575 v. Booth, [2020] B.C.J. No. 865, 2020 BCCA 153, British Columbia Court of Appeal, May 28, 2020, M.V. Newbury, M.E. Saunders and G. Dickson JJ.A.

The owners of a strata lot filed a claim with the Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) against their Strata Corporation for repairs to a patio, costs, and $25,000 for loss of enjoyment of life, threats, abuse and stress. The Strata Corporation made a request to the CRT that it be represented by a lawyer. The CRT denied the Strata’s request on the basis that the dispute was “common” or “typical” and did not engage “unusual or complex” subject matter. On judicial review, the BC Supreme Court found that the CRT’s decision fell within a range of acceptable outcomes with clear reasons supporting the decision.  Accordingly, the reviewing judge dismissed the Strata’s petition.

The Strata appealed the decision of the BC Supreme Court arguing, among other things, that the judge erred by failing to consider the seriousness of the CRT’s misapprehension of the nature of the dispute and the effect that would have on the Strata.

The Court of Appeal accepted its role was to step into the reviewing judges’ shoes and focus on the decision under review.  As a preliminary matter, the Court observed that the CRT was taking an adversarial role in defending its decision, “intrudes remarkably into solicitor and client arrangements”, and undermined the role of counsel.

The Court found that the CRT failed to properly assess the scale and basis of the claim which, when properly considered, involved more than repairs to the strata lot. The Court held that the issues raised in the claim were outside those contemplated by section 121 of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act. The Court held that the allegations included torts, various liability, personal and corporate reputation and, potentially, jurisdiction. Without “meaningful consideration” of these issues, the CRT’s decision was found to be flawed and unreasonable.  The Court remitted the Strata’s request for representation back to the CRT for reconsideration.

This case was digested by Jackson C. Doyle, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Administrative Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Administrative Law Newsletter.  If you would like to discuss this case further, please contact Jackson C. Doyle at

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