Removing a Case from Rule 15 – Trial Length
Rule 15 is the new BC Fast Track Litigation Rule and it is mandatory for cases for damages seeking less than $100,000 and for cases that “can be completed within 3 days“. Rule 15-1(6) permits a court to remove a case from Fast Track Litigation. The first case I’m aware of dealing with such an application was released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In today’s case (Jones v. Stratford Hall) the Plaintiff sued using the mandatory fast track rule. The Defendant applied to remove the case arguing that the trial would take more than 3 days. Master Bishop refused to remove the case from the Fast Track finding that there was a “rational possibility” the case could be concluded in 3 days. The Court provided the following short but helpful reasons:
 With respect to the first application, that is a little bit more difficult of a question to resolve, but in my view, given the test set out by Master Bolton that the defendant must show quite clearly that the matter cannot be completed in two days ?? three days, sorry, I believe the defendant fails on that basis. I believe there is a rational possibility that counsel, particularly given the case management conference that is happening tomorrow, can complete matters within the three days, and therefore that application is dismissed.
Master Bishop refers to a case where Master Bolton appears to have addressed this issue previously (and perhaps in more detail) although the reasons for judgement do not indicate which authority the Court is relying on. Until more precedents are developed interpreting Rule 15, authorities addressing the former Rule 68 may be of some assistance and guidance. You can access my archived posts addressing the former Rule 68 here.