By: Kamloops This Week

The province is directing more potentially expensive civil litigation to its Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) to keep cases out of the courts.

Starting June 1, disputes valued at less than $5,000 will be directed to the online process. Claims including contracts, debts, personal injury, personal property and consumer issues can be directed to the CRT.

Using computers or smartphones, participants can solve issues through self-help. Those who cannot resolve a dispute can obtain an expert decision from a tribunal member. The system has been used to resolve strata disputes since July last year.

In addition to changes with the CRT, small claims court will now handle disputes ranging up to $35,000 — up from today’s $25,000. Disputes over that amount go to B.C. Supreme Court.

Overall, the changes are designed to free up court time for more serious disputes, said B.C. Attorney General Susan Anton.