I am in Canada and have brought a dispute to the Civil Resolution Tribunal. The defendant has replied. He claims that there are several people (who I know) who are prepared to corroborate his side of the story. I would not be hard for me to get in touch with these people and ask if it is true, that they are planning on getting involved in the dispute. Should I do this? Can I present them with the document where the defendant claimed they would corroborate his story?

By the way, in this context what's the difference between corroborate and testify?

  • 2
    I would contact your case manager and see what they say, TBH. The BC Civil Resolution Tribunal is an unusual system, and random answers from folks on the web who aren't familiar with the system (e.g., me) might not be accurate. Also: "corroborate" = "confirm the truth of a particular story"; "testify" = "give a statement to the court." Jul 19, 2019 at 18:30
  • I contacted them. The answer I got is there's nothing prohibiting a person from disclosing the documents. Jul 29, 2019 at 6:32

1 Answer 1


I am not knowledgeable of the Canadian judicial system(s) and I can only speak based on my litigation experience in the US.

It seems very unlikely to me that court filings for the type of claim(s) you are pursuing are confidential or sealed. Thus, other than an actual knowledge of Canadian laws indicating the contrary, presenting them the document(s) is fine from the standpoint of procedural law.

Regardless of Canadian laws in that respect, showing to potential witnesses --especially in the case of adverse ones-- the court documents prematurely might be detrimental from a tactical/strategic standpoint. Keep in mind that your records and any statements you make when speaking to them might give them and the defendant the opportunity to fine tune a perjured testimony for when they are called to testify. Many witnesses lie even when they are under oath.

Instead, you should focus on how you will examine their testimony when they are called to testify. For instance, think of the follow-up questions you should make, be it to support your claims or to lead them to inconsistencies in the event that they indulge in perjured testimony.

It is possible that the defendant will make very narrow questions to his witnesses so as to merely "corroborate" his allegations. By contrast, your job will be to make them elaborate on --or testify beyond-- defendant's very narrow questions to the extent that their testimony (or answers thereto) is (are) relevant to your matter.

  • The BC Civil Resolution Tribunal is more like binding arbitration than a court of law. In particular, evidence is usually provided and a decision is usually rendered in writing, without necessarily having an oral hearing at all. (And if there is an oral hearing, it's not clear to me that witnesses are called in the traditional sense, nor is it clear that counter-examination is allowed.) So I'm not sure how useful this advice will be to the OP. Jul 22, 2019 at 17:10
  • @MichaelSeifert Thanks for clarifying. I find it surprising that a party is not allowed to impeach testimony or refute evidence at that level of tribunal. That being said, I still think that needlessly showing one's cards --so to speak-- just gives the adversary & his abettors an opportunity to lie/perjure more credibly (that is, with lesser risk of inconsistencies being identified), especially if the OP will not be allowed to reply or counter-examine in the tribunal. Jul 22, 2019 at 17:23

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