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VOL. 78 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
agree to use them or if none of the claims raised exceed $250,000 exclusive
of interest and costs. Matters that fall under these provisions will be heard
on an expedited basis and for a flat fee. For the most part, matters that fall
under these provisions will be determined based on written materials only.
3. Virtual hearing procedures
In recognition of the increased use of the virtual hearing format, the new
Rules include procedures that formalize best practices for virtual hearings.
We expect that the use of virtual hearings will continue beyond the current
COVID-19 pandemic, particularly given the efficiencies derived where parties
and witnesses are not in the same location.
4. Optional appeal tribunal provisions that allow for a confidential appeal
to arbitrators in place of a public appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeal under
the new Act
Parties may appeal to an appeal tribunal on any question of law arising out
of an award if the parties expressly agree in their arbitration agreement, or
if the parties consent to an appeal at any time after the arbitration commences.
If the parties have agreed in an arbitration agreement that an
appeal may be brought on questions of mixed law and fact, questions of fact
or other specified grounds, the appeal tribunal shall hear the appeal on
those specified grounds. The new Rules also set out the powers and procedures
of the appeal tribunal and explain the effect of an appealed award.
The new Rules and procedures will provide new opportunities for arbitrators
1) as emergency arbitrators;
2) under the expedited rules;
3) as a costs assessor; and
4) as a member of an appeal tribunal.
No panelists will be required to accept flat-fee appointments or appointments
as an emergency arbitrator. It is anticipated that the flat-fee procedures
under the expedited rules will be of particular interest to those who
would like to gain more experience as an arbitrator. In addition, flat-fee arbitrations
are designed to increase access to justice by making commercial
arbitration more accessible and desirable where the quantum is such that it
is not economically feasible to run a claim through a full Supreme Court
proceeding, but the value of the claim exceeds the Civil Resolution Tribunal’s
and the Small Claims Court’s monetary limits.
The modernization of domestic arbitration in B.C. is an exciting development
that the Centre will support through its new Rules and the roles designated
to it under the new Act.