The Times They Are A Changin' – Major Overhaul to BC Civil Rules As of July 1, 2010
There are major changes coming to the landscape of Civil Litigation in the BC Supreme Court in the coming year. Today, the BC Government issued a press release advising of a complete overhaul of the BC Supreme Court rules effective July 1, 2010.
These new civil rules have been the source of much controversy since the proposed changes were first announced.
Whatever side of the debate you were on these new rules appear to now be a reality and all lawyers (or people who will represent themselves in the BC Supreme Court) have just under one year to get up to speed. In fact, Part 24 of the new Rules states that proceedings started under the current Supreme Court Rules will be “deemed to be a proceeding started under these Supreme Court Civil Rules‘ meaning that every current BC Supreme Court civil lawsuit that is not disposed of before July 1, 2010 will be under the force of the new rules at that time.
You can click here to access a copy of the new Civil Rules.
As the new BC Supreme Court Civil Rules were just released today in their final form I will need some time to review them to see what changes they contain with respect to the way ICBC Claims and Personal Injury Claims are prosecuted in the BC Supreme Court. Over the course of the next year I hope to write extensively about these new rules and the way they will affect personal injury litigation. In the meantime, according the the BC Government’s Press Release, some of the highlights of these new rules are as follows:
Under the new civil and family rules, the Province will provide up to three days of trial time before litigants are required to pay court fees. Current fees start at $156 for a half day or less. To encourage the use of mediation, court fees for filing or responding to a legal claim will be eliminated for parties that engage in mediation prior to commencing a civil action.
Additional reforms include changes to rules used by B.C.’s civil courts to speed up, simplify and lower the cost of resolving disputes. These include:
· Containing legal processes so that they are proportionate to the value, importance and complexity of the case.
· Allowing parties the option of having a judge set time limits on litigation events.
· Providing a new fast track process that greatly simplifies procedures when the amount in dispute is $100,000 or less or when the case can be tried in three days or less.
· Providing new family rules for minimizing family conflict, promoting co-operation and ensuring that the interests of children are paramount.