Joining 2 Separate ICBC Claims for Trial at the Same Time

If you are involved in 2 separate car accidents and start 2 separate Injury Claims in the BC Supreme Court is it possible to have the trials heard at the same time?
The answer is yes and such applications are governed by BC Supreme Court Rule 5(8) which states that “proceedings may be consolidated at any time by order of the court or may be ordered to be tried at the same time or on the same day“.
Today reasons for judgement were released by the BC Supreme Court (Miclash v. Yan) considering an application under Rule 5(8).  In granting the Plaintiff’s request to have multiple claims heard at the same time Master Keighley concisely set out the principles to be considered in these applications.  The Court summarized the law as follows:

[15] The application is brought pursuant to Rule 5(8) of the Rules of Court…

[16] The order sought is discretionary.

[17] Exercise of this discretion is governed by the principles set out in the decision of Master Kirkpatrick, as she then was, in the case of Merritt v. Imasco Enterprises Inc. (1992), 2 C.P.C. (3d) 275 at para. 18 and 19:

18.       None of the submissions of counsel address the real issue to be determined. That is, are the issues raised by the pleadings sufficiently similar to warrant the order sought and will the order make sense in the circumstances? An application to have actions tried at the same time thus requires an examination of circumstances which may be of a more general nature than is made under R. 27 or 19.

19.       I accept that the foundation of an application under R. 5(8) is, indeed, disclosed by the pleadings. The examination of the pleadings will answer the first question to be addressed: do common claims, disputes and relationships exist between the parties? But the next question which one must ask is: are they “so interwoven as to make separate trials at different times before different judges undesirable and fraught with problems and economic expense”? Webster v. Webster (1979), 12 B.C.L.R. 172 at 182, 10 R.F.L. (2d) 148, 101 D.L.R. (3d) 248 (C.A.). That second question cannot, in my respectful view, be determined solely by reference to the pleadings. Reference must also be made to matters disclosed outside the pleadings:

(1)        Will the order sought create a saving in pre-trial procedures, (in particular, pre-trial conferences)?;

(2)        Will there be a real reduction in the number of trial days taken up by the trials being heard at the same time?;

(3)        What is the potential for a party to be seriously inconvenienced by being required to attend a trial in which that party may have only a marginal interest?; and

(4)        Will there be a real saving in experts’ time and witness fees?

This is in no way intended to be an exhaustive list. It merely sets out some of the factors which, it seems to me, ought to be weighed before making an order under R. 5(8).

[18] To these considerations, Master Joyce, as he then was, added two more in the case of Shah v. Bakken, [1996] B.C.J. No. 2836, 20 B.C.L.R. (3d) 393, at para. 15:

Other factors which in my view can be added to the foregoing list are:

(5)  Is one of the actions at a more advanced stage than the other? See: Forestral Automation Ltd. v. RMS Industrial Controls Inc. et al. (No.2), unreported, March 6, 1978, No. C765633/76, Vancouver (B.C.S.C.).

(6)  Will the order result a delay of the trial of one of the actions and, if so, does any prejudice which a party may suffer as a result of that delay outweigh the potential benefits which a combined trial might otherwise have?

In my continued effort to cross reference civil procedure cases with the new BC Supreme Court Rules which will take effect on July 1, 2010 Rule 5(8) is replicated in full under the New Rules and can be found at Rule 22-5(8).  Accordingly, the principles set out above will likely continue to be useful in considering similar applications once the new rules come into force.

Civil Procedure, Consolidation, ICBC Claims heard at the same time, icbc injury claims, Master Keighley, Miclash v. Yan, New BC Supreme Court Civil Rules, New BC Supreme Court Rules, Rule 22-5(8), Rule 5(8)

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
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