Motor Vehicle Accidents and the CRT
Several years ago the Civil Resolution Tribunal ("CRT") was provided exclusive jurisdiction to make determinations on a parties entitlement to damages for injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident (up to $50,000.00). This was determined to be unconstitutional in TLABC v BC, 2021 BCSC 348, judgment rendered by The Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson. The decision was appealed.
On May 12, 2022, judgment was rendered on the appeal by the Court of Appeal. In TLABC v BC, 2022 BCCA 163 the Court of Appeal overturned the previous decision of Justice Hinkson, with reasons for the majority, in brief, being as folllows:
Held: Appeal allowed. First, the historical inquiry reveals that at Confederation, in at least two of the four confederating provinces, jurisdiction over ‘personal injury claims in tort’ (whether or not considering related property damage claims) was generally shared between inferior and superior courts. Second, the impugned scheme does not impermissibly invade the core jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The core-jurisdiction test is intended to protect the essential character of superior courts: as primary guardians of the rule of law, playing a significant role in the development of the common law, and maintaining national unity. Highlighting only some of the factors: the Supreme Court of British Columbia retains significant involvement over personal injury and tort law generally; there are several avenues for the Supreme Court to retain jurisdiction over the sort of motor vehicle claims at issue in this litigation; the Supreme Court plays a robust role on judicial review; and the scheme was enacted to further an important societal objective. The province had identified that the existing system of compensating for minor personal injuries in tort was threatening the viability of the public insurer, ICBC, and equally the actual compensation recovered by the victims of these minor injuries. The impugned scheme is an experiment with a new form of access to justice and represents an integrated comprehensive effort at reform directed at a social mischief identified by other branches of government.
Accordingly, the Civil Resolution Tribunal's jurisdiction to determine minor injury claims and claims up to $50,000.00 remains. The Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, a group of mainly personal injury lawyers, have not announced whether or not the decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.