Tag: Pausch v. Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Objections on Expert Qualifications Must Be Raised Under Timelines of Rule 11-6(10)

Interesting reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing the scope and timing of objections required under Rule 11-6(10).
In today’s case (Pausch v. Vancouver Coastal Health Authority) the Plaintiff tendered the report of an expert discussing the standard of care of MRI technologists.  The Defendant failed to raise an objection of the expert’s qualifications under the timelines set out in Rule 11-6(10).  The Defendant argued that this rule was “limited to objections on the contents of the report” and did not apply to expert qualifications.  Madam Justice Sharma disagreed and found the rule did apply to qualification objections.  In reaching this conclusion the Court provided the following reasons:

[13]         Turning to the question of whether Rule 11-6(10) and (11) applies to objections of qualifications, I conclude that it does.

[14]         In my view, no difference can be drawn between an objection to the admissibility of the report, and an objection to an expert’s qualification with regard to Rule 11-6(10). In order to be admissible, any opinion evidence must come from a properly qualified expert. Qualification is a prerequisite to admissibility.

[15]         The wording of Rule 11-6(10) and (11) is mandatory. In my view, the phrase “objection to the admissibility of the expert’s evidence” necessarily includes objections based on inadequate qualifications of the expert. Indeed, the expert’s qualifications are required to form part of his or her report:  Rule 11-6(1)(a) and (b). I find therefore, that the defendant here ought to have given notice of the objections to the expert’s qualifications.

The Court went on to find that, despite the lack of a proper objection, the Court retains “an overriding discretion to admit opinion evidence when the rules have not been followed, or refuse to admit it when there has been compliance.” and that “It is the duty of the trial judge to ensure evidence admitted onto the record is both relevant and admissible but the plaintiff has the burden of establishing that Mr. Myszkowski is qualified as an expert.” whether or not a timely objection was raised.

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ERIK
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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.

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