ICBC Law

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More Confusion Clarified: Trial Notices Under Former Rules Remain Valid Under New Rules

One of the changes under the New BC Supreme Court Civil Rules relates to setting a matter down for trial.  Under the former rules a Notice of Trial was to be delivered “by a plaintiff after the time has expired for the delivery of a statement of defence or by any party after the close of pleadings“.  Under the new Rule 12-1(2) any party may deliver a Notice of Trial at any time after the commencement of a proceeding.

There has been some debate whether Notices of Trial filed under the former rules remained valid under the new rules or whether parties need to file a new Notice of Trial in these circumstances.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, dealing with this procedural issue ruling that a new Notice of Trial is not necessary in circumstances where one was filed under the former rules.

In this week’s case (Sim v. Learmouth) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The lawsuit was started under the former rules.  ICBC, as statutory third party, filed a Notice of Trial and Jury Notice in May, 2009.  The Plaintiff did not file their own jury notice in the time lines required under the former rules.  When the New Rules came into force the Plaintiff served a new Notice of Trial and Jury Notice.  The Plaintiff argued that Rule 12-1(6) requires party’s to file a new Notice of Trial.  ICBC disagreed and argued that the Plaintiff’s jury notice was invalid.

Master Keighley agreed with ICBC and struck the Plaintiff’s Jury Notice.  In doing so the Court explained that party’s do not need to file a Notice of Trial under the New Rules if one was filed under the former rules.  The Court provided the following useful reasons:

[17]         It only remains to be considered whether the transitional provision is effective to allow delivery of a further Notice of Trial and a re-setting of the clock with regards to the filing and serving of a Jury Notice.

[18]         In my view, it is not, for the following reasons:

(a)      The applicant’s delivery of their Notice of Trial and Jury Notice were “steps taken before July 1, 2010”;

(b)      Any right or obligation arising out of delivery of the Notice of Trial had effect on the day of delivery, namely the trial date was secured, subject to an adjournment by agreement or order. It had no other effect thereafter;

(c)      Delivery of the Jury Notice was effective to notify the parties of records as to the applicant’s intention to have a trial by judge and jury on the date of delivery. It had no other effect thereafter, although a jury trial would only be secured by a further step, the payment of jury fees prior to trial. The Notice itself, however, was fully effective on delivery.

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