Simmi K. Sandhu, chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), announced her departure from the role, effective Dec. 21, 2023.
Sandhu, who has been at the helm since June 2022, is stepping down after a tenure marked by significant contributions to the justice system, particularly in the realms of accessibility and equity.
Her leadership at the CRT followed a seven-year stint as chair of the Property Assessment Appeal Board and over two decades of dedication to administrative law and the attorney general tribunal sector. Sandhu’s tenure was characterized by her commitment to serving marginalized communities and enhancing culturally appropriate justice services, especially for Indigenous people. This included the hiring of navigators to assist Indigenous parties in navigating the tribunal process.
A key achievement under Sandhu’s guidance was the establishment of a community advisory council. This council, comprising Indigenous lawyers and educators, was tasked with reviewing CRT processes, identifying barriers, and recommending solutions to overcome these challenges. Another notable initiative led by Sandhu was the translation of 12 CRT informational videos into Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, and Tagalog, thereby making the tribunal’s resources more accessible to a diverse audience.
Moreover, under Sandhu’s direction, the CRT developed accessible, victim-centered, and trauma-informed processes to align with the new Intimate Images Protection Act. These efforts underscored her focus on creating a more inclusive and empathetic justice system.
While Sandhu will be leaving her role at the CRT, she continues her international judicial work as president and judge of the United Nations Appeal Tribunal, a position she has held since her appointment by the UN General Assembly in 2018.
The Office of the Attorney General of British Columbia has expressed gratitude to Sandhu for her years of service and her impactful leadership at the CRT. In the interim, Shelley Lopez, currently the vice-chair of the CRT, will serve as the acting chair until a new chair is appointed through a merit-based competition. Sandhu’s departure marks the end of a significant chapter in the CRT’s history, characterized by advancements in justice accessibility and inclusivity.