At FairClaims, we talk a lot about how to improve upon the small claims court system. We’re always looking at new and different tools to help resolve disputes quickly and easily, and help enterprise, consumers and small business owners avoid having to go to court from the outset. From mediated chat and settlement to our arbitration service, we currently can resolve disputes in as little as two weeks!
Of course that’s certainly not the case with court. Even a small claims court case is something that every small business owner dreads, but unfortunately will probably have to face at one time or another. It’s an expensive, time-consuming journey that often begins with the uncomfortable question “should I bother to defend my business?” With legal costs ranging in the hundreds of dollars per hour (plus filing fees), and overbooked courts that can potentially require months of waiting time, that question highlights the conflict business owners face in deciding whether it’s even worth their limited time to pursue or respond to a claim.
These issues aren’t limited to the United States though. For example, small claims court has been a confusing aspect of British Columbia’s legal system for years. For the small business owners and general public in BC, who may lack an in-depth knowledge of the law and virtually always require legal counsel, the $230/hr CAD average price tag to hire a lawyer for representation in court is often too big of a gulp to swallow. It’s easy to rack up legal bills that may even exceed the $35,000 limit on the claims one can bring, so sometimes folks think it’s better to just forget the dispute and take the loss.
But our friends to the North have been working to improve their system. Underscoring the headache that the courts have been to the people of British Columbia, they developed a new process – called the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) – to help.
The CRT was established in British Columbia with the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act of 2012, primarily for resolving housing disputes. As of June 1st, 2017, CRT has begun to take on a limited scope of other claims, mostly online (sound familiar?), focusing on mediation and negotiation. The process is quick relative to court, allowing people to save their time and resolve certain disputes in a more comprehensible way.
FairClaims of course handles disputes that go beyond the scope of what the CRT handles, but we’re always fans of folks trying to improve the system. And if you have a cross-border dispute, let us know the details – we can often handle international claims!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime with any questions you may have, and rest assured that you’ll be working with some of the most skilled and accomplished attorneys out there to arbitrate and resolve your disputes.