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Court Challenge Launched Against BC Injury Claims Expert Witness Cap

Earlier this year the BC Government introduced changes to the BC Supreme Court Civil Rules capping the number of expert witnesses parties in motor vehicle and other injury claims can rely on. The rule change was brought unilaterally without consultation of the Rules Committee.

The government softened up their initial restriction but even the amended cap on expert witnesses leaves no judicial discretion to allow parties to present evidence exceeding the cap in necessary cases of complexity. A court challenge has now been filed arguing these unilateral rule changes are not constitutional and encroach upon the exclusive and core powers of the superior court. The Petition agues as follows:

The Rule is an unprecedented and profound interference with the court’s control of its process, that will greatly prejudice litigants in cases of even modest factual complexity. The Rule was not invited by the Rules Committee, and instead was imposed by the government without notice to the bar, substantially for the benefit of the Crown Corporation auto insurer, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”).

The Rule encroaches upon the exclusive and core powers of the superior court; it creates undue hardship for plaintiffs in obtaining access to justice; it is not authorized by the Court Rules Act; and it was created through a process that defies constitutional convention. It is invalid

The challenge is expected to be heard in the upcoming months. I will continue to follow this issue and report on future developments.