Fixed Trial Date a Prerequisite for Trial Management Conference
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Penticton Registry, confirming that a Trial Date needs to be fixed before the Court has the authority to conduct a Trial Management Conference.
In today’s case (Landis v. Witmar Holdings Ltd.) the Claimant unilaterally set down a Trial Management Conference before a trial date was secured. The Respondent argued that the conference was a nullity in these circumstances. Mr. Justice Punnett agreed and in doing so provided the following reasons:
 Trial management conferences are a creation of the new Rules and are governed by Rule 12-2. The objective of a trial management conference is to provide increased judicial supervision of pre-trial steps of litigation and the conduct of trials. The rationale for increased judicial supervision is to provide assistance to parties in moving the case forward consistent with the overall objective of the Rules, particularly the proportionality principles.
 The requirement under Rule 12-2(1) to hold a trial management conference at least 28 days before the scheduled trial date indicates that a trial must be set before a trial management conference is scheduled.
 Rule 12-2(1) reads:
Unless the court otherwise orders, a trial management conference must take place at least 28 days before the scheduled trial date, at a time and place to be fixed by a registrar. [Emphasis added]
 Without a trial date a judge is unable to address the issues referred to in Rule 12-2(9), nor would counsel be in a position to comply with the requirements of Rule 12-2(3) respecting the filing of trial briefs.
 Consequently, the trial management conference should not have been set down. A notice of trial fixing a trial date must be issued before a trial management conference can be scheduled.
 The trial management conference set for June 11, 2012 is struck.