Canada: Proposed New Rules For The Supreme Court Of British Columbia

For the spring 2007 edition of Dispute Resolution, I wrote Effective and Affordable Civil Justice: The Report of the Civil Justice Reform Working Group, about a report issued late last year by the B.C. Civil Justice Working Group of the Justice Review Task Force. That report recommended fundamental change to British Columbia's civil justice system to better assist "citizens in obtaining just solutions to legal problems quickly and affordably". It made three key recommendations, one of which was the re-writing of the Supreme Court of British Columbia's Rules of Court. This summer a drafting group published a "Concept Draft" of the proposed new Rules of Court. The Draft goes far beyond theory. In fact, it is over 400 pages of detailed proposed rules and forms.

Many of the proposed rules mirror current rules or are very similar to them. But some fundamental changes are contemplated. These are the highlights of the proposed new Rules:

  1. a new explicit overriding objective that all proceedings be dealt with justly and pursuant to the principles of proportionality;
  2. a new case-initiation process, requiring the parties to accurately and succinctly state the facts and legal basis for their claim and defence, as well as a plan for resolving the case;
  3. requiring each case to have a "case plan order" which sets specific deadlines for completion of pre-trial steps, with consequences for failure to meet them;
  4. limits on discovery, while requiring the early disclosure of key information;
  5. limits on use of experts, in accordance with proportionality principles, and the reduction of expert advocacy;
  6. more efficient resolution of pre-trial applications;
  7. a more streamlined and focused trial process;
  8. simpler recourse to mediation; and
  9. opportunities for the early resolution of issues that create an impasse, but with limits on interlocutory appeals.

Some of these ideas require explanation. The new case-initiation process involves replacing the writ of summons and statement of claim with a single "dispute summary". The initiating party will be the "claimant". The dispute summary will contain all of the items previously required in a statement of claim, but must be submitted in a particular form and must set out a concise summary of the facts giving rise to the claim, the relief sought by the claimant and a one-page summary of the legal basis for that relief. The claimant must personally sign a statement that they believe the facts set out in it are true. The dispute summary must be served within 60 days after filing with the Court.

To avoid default judgment, the party being sued, who will be called the "respondent", must file a page-limited "response". There is no longer any appearance. The response must indicate whether each fact set out in the dispute summary is admitted, denied or outside the respondent's knowledge. For all facts denied, the response must set out the respondent's versions of those facts. It must also set out a concise summary of any additional relevant facts. If the respondent denies the claimant's right to relief, the response must set out a concise summary of the legal basis for the denial. Respondents must also certify their belief in the truth of the facts stated.

With respect to case planning, the proposed rules prohibit the parties taking any steps after the exchange of the initiating documents until a "case plan" order is made. There are exceptions to this rule, including dealing with jurisdictional disputes, applying for default or summary judgment, delivery of notices to admit or offers to settle, engaging in negotiation and mediation, and dealing with urgent matters. Case plan orders may be made by consent or in a "case planning conference". A consent case plan order must include the parameters for document production, oral examinations for discovery, expert witnesses, lay witnesses and trial. The parties must personally sign consent case plan orders.

If the parties are unable to consent to a case plan order, either party may request a case planning conference. The parties, starting with the claimant, must then exchange "resolution plans". The resolution plan must summarily describe the action, indicate the major impediments to achieving a resolution, set out the steps the party believes will lead to resolution and indicate the disagreements between the parties on the items required to be in the case plan.

The parties must attend the case planning conference personally. It must result in a court order that may set a timetable for the steps to be taken in the action, strike pleadings, require amendment of a dispute summary to provide more detail, set requirements for discovery, witness lists and evidence summaries, experts and offers to settle, give directions for the conduct of pre-trial applications, require the parties to attend mediation or other dispute resolution process, set the action for trial, and determine the mode and length of trial.

With respect to expert witnesses, some significant changes are planned. Under the proposed rules, the parameters for the use of experts will be set out in the case plan order. They will include the number and type of experts that may be called by each party and whether joint experts may be required. They will also set out that an expert has a duty to assist the court that overrides any obligation to a party or person liable to pay their fees or expenses. The expert must, in any report they prepare, certify that they are aware of that duty, and made their report and will testify in conformity with it.

The target implementation date for the new rules is early 2010. This allows time for revision based on consultation feedback, the Cabinet approval process, forms development, business process changes involving Court Services and the judiciary, staff training and legal education.

We expect the proposed rules will undergo some revision from now until their implementation date, and that the target implementation date may not be met. But, although the change is indefinite and somewhat distant, it appears inevitable. Also it does appear that the core idea behind the proposed changes, that all proceedings will have applied to them the appropriate amount of legal process, taking into account what is at stake, will be crystallized, in one way or another, in the new rules.

With this in mind, our dispute resolution department has established a new rules committee that is studying the proposed rules and soliciting comments from all of our dispute resolution professionals, to let our views be known to the authors of the Concept Draft. Our group is particularly focused on the practical implications of many of these proposed changes, so that the useful features of the current system are not lost and the proposed changes actually achieve their goal of improving the civil justice system. As always, we have undertaken this task with the interests of our clients in mind. We will keep you informed of developments.

About BLG

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions