Originally published in The Indo-Candian Voice and written by Rattan Mall on May 11 2015.
Lawyer Kamaljit K. Lehal is among 18 first members who have been selected for the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal, following a competitive hiring process, to decide strata property and small claims cases at B.C’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), Canada’s first online tribunal.
Once the CRT commences operations, these tribunal members will hear strata and small claims cases and reach binding decisions, enforceable as a court order. Their responsibilities will be similar to members of other independent, quasi-judicial bodies such as the Human Rights Tribunal. They are appointed for fixed terms of between two to four years, and may be reappointed up to five additional years.
These appointments are being made now to ensure that a strong contingent of well-trained tribunal members are ready to adjudicate claims when the CRT opens at the end of this year. Until then, members will receive training on administrative law, adjudication skills, the tribunal’s policies and processes, and other related topics.
This completes the first round of tribunal member appointments, with additional appointments anticipated later this year. A transparent, merit-based process was used for the recruitment and selection of the CRT members who were appointed by Cabinet, through Order-in-Council.
Available 24/7, the user-friendly CRT will be Canada’s first online tribunal and will give British Columbians the tools they need to resolve their strata and small claims disputes in a timely and affordable manner.
Lehal is a lawyer practising in administrative law, immigration, personal injury, and mediation matters. She received her law degree from the UBC in 1989, and she completed mediation training from Harvard Law School.
Lehal was a member of the B.C. Review Board from 1998 to 2010. Active in her community, Lehal serves on the board of directors of Options Community Services Society since 1996, a non-profit organization that that supports families and community health.
She is also involved in the Community Coordination for Women’s Safety and has acted as supervising lawyer for the Ending Violence Association of B.C. on a Law Foundation project addressing domestic violence and immigrant women. She is also a member of the Network to End Violence in Relationships. She is a past member of the Indo-Canadian Women’s Organization.
The other members are Maureen C. Abraham, Maureen Baird, Wendy A. Baker, Kathryn A. Berge, Jamie Bleay, Colleen Cattell, Bonnie S. Elster, Andrew Gay, Julie K. Gibson, Angus M. Gunn, Richard Hoops Harrison, Michael Litchfield, Barry Long, Elaine T. McCormack, Andrew Pendray, Patrick A. Williams and Cora D. Wilson.
Shannon Salter, Chair, Civil Resolution Tribunal, said: “The CRT members are highly qualified legal professionals, with expertise in administrative law, as well as in one or more of the areas of law under the tribunal’s jurisdiction, including strata property, contract, debt, personal property, and personal injury matters. With the appointment of these tribunal members, we are one step closer to increasing access to justice for British Columbians with strata and small claims disputes.”
Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said: “We received over 90 applications for these positions and are encouraged by the level of interest from the legal community to be a part of this innovative online tribunal. The CRT is an important part of the B.C. government’s plan to transform and modernize our justice system to provide people with access to justice when and where they need it.”
Learn more at www.civilresolutionbc.ca