Reasons for judgment were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dismissing an ICBC application to lengthen the applicable time frame to file a jury notice.
In today’s case (Chapman-Fluker v. Gustavson) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages. The Defendants, insured by ICBC and initially represented by in house counsel, failed to file a jury notice in the applicable time frame.
Months before trial the Defendants applied to allow them to file their jury notice beyond the specified time limits.
Last year I discussed the fact that the BC Supreme Court can deal with Jury Strike applications both under Rule 12-6(5) and also as part of the trial management process. Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Court of Appeal (Wallman v. Gill) addressing this reality but also providing comments on the limits of when the trial management process is an appropriate forum for such an application. The Court provided the following feedback:
23] By analogy, although the application to strike the jury in this case was heard by the judge who had been appointed to manage the action, he did not hear it in the course of a trial management conference under R. 12-2(9), but in regular chambers under R. 12-6(5). Indeed, he could not have heard it at a case management conference since it is evident the parties filed affidavits on the application, and this would not have been permitted under R. 12-2(11)(a). Thus, the order striking the jury is not a limited appeal order.
 I would be sympathetic to the plaintiff’s argument that the Legislature did not intend to create a “two-tier” system for appealing orders directing the mode of trial if I were satisfied that was the practical effect of this ruling. However, I am not convinced that this is the case. This argument fails to recognize the unique role of the case management conference. It is held late in the proceeding, when the trial is sufficiently imminent that the parties have been able to prepare a comprehensive trial brief, and meet in person with the judge to make informed decisions about how the trial will proceed. In this limited context, R. 12-2(9)(b) permits a trial management judge to decide whether the trial should be heard with or without a jury, either on application by one of the parties or on his or her own initiative, and without affidavit evidence. I venture the view that this power will be exercised rarely. If the parties have been unable to agree on the mode of trial, it seems most unlikely they would leave this to be determined late in the day at a case management conference, without the benefit of affidavit evidence. It is reasonable to assume that, instead, there will have been an earlier application under R. 12-6(5) to determine this issue. Further, it seems unlikely a trial management judge would then consider revisiting an earlier order dealing with mode of trial or, if no earlier application had been brought, alter the mode of trial in a summary manner late in the day.
The BC Supreme Court Rules require a trial certificate to be filed at least 14 days before a scheduled trial date. Failure to do so requires the matter to be removed from the trial list ‘unless the court otherwise orders‘. Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, addressing the framework which permits the Court to restore a trial date after if it has been removed from the trial list. In short the Court relied on its power under Rule 12-1(9)(b) to “fix the date of a trial proceeding” to remedy the problem.
In this weeks case (Knowles v. Lan) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision. Prior to trial ICBC sought to have the matter adjourned but the application was dismissed. The Plaintiff’s lawyer then forgot to file a trial certificate and the matter was removed from the trial list. Mr. Justice Halfyard restored the trial date and in doing so provided the following reasons addressing the proper framework for such a remedy:
 The first question is whether Rule 12-4 (5) gives the court power to restore a proceeding to the trial list, after it has been removed for non-compliance with Rule 12-4 (2). I would say firstly that, because of the mandatory wording in Rule 12-4, the filing of at least one trial certificate is a necessary condition for a trial to proceed. As a consequence, I do not think the court could dispense with the filing of any trial certificate, but could only grant leave to file it less than 14 days before trial.
 In my opinion, a party who seeks to have a trial restored to the trial list must first obtain leave to file a trial certificate “late,” under Rule 22-4 (2). If such leave is granted, and a trial certificate is filed in accordance with the order, that filing would not have the effect of restoring the trial to the trial list from which it had been removed. Could the court make such a restoration order, under Rule 12-4 (5)?
 In my opinion, Rule 12-4 (5) should be read so as to include the additional underlined words, as follows:
(5) Unless the court otherwise orders, if no party of record files a trial certificate in accordance with sub-rule (2), the trial must be removed from the trial list.
 In my view, Rule 12-4 (5) is designed to prevent an action being removed from the trial list for failure to file a trial certificate as required by subrule (2). It does not state that, if a trial has been removed from the trial list, the court may restore that trial to the trial list. Nor do I think that such a power is implicit in that subrule. In order to preserve a trial date by invoking this Rule, I think the application and the order would have to be made before the 14 day deadline. That was not done here, and so this rule cannot be relied upon…
 It may be that Rule 1-3 provides inherent jurisdiction to make an order restoring this action to the trial list for March 4, 2013. But it seems to me that Rule 12-1 (9) provides specific authority to do this. Subrule (9)(b) states:
(9) The court may
. . .
(b) fix the date of trial of a proceeding,
. . .
 When this action was struck off the trial list, there was no longer any date scheduled for the trial. The subrule I have just referred to does, in my opinion, empower the court to fix a date for the trial of this proceeding which coincides with the previously – scheduled trial date of March 4, 2013. I would rely on that subrule in making the order to reinstate this action for trial on March 4, 2013.
 Authority might also be found in Rule 22-7(2)(e), which states in relevant part as follows:
(2) . . . if there has been a failure to comply with these . . . Rules, the court may
. . .
(e) make any other order it considers will further the object of these . . . Rules.
 In my opinion, the reasons I have outlined support the orders that I made on February 27, 2013.
Rule 12-6(5) imposes a 7 day deadline in which to dispute a jury notice. As previously discussed, the former rules of Court permitted parties to get away from this time limit by applying to strike a jury at a pre-trial conference. With the overhaul of the civil rules does this exception still apply? Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, finding that it does.
In yesterday’s case (Cliff v. Dahl) the Plaintiff was ‘severely injured‘ in a 2007 collision. The Plaintiff’s claim was set for trial and the Plaintiff filed a jury notice. The Defendant brought an application to strike the jury notice but failed to do so within the timelines required by Rule 12-6(5).
The Defendant’s application was ultimately dismissed on the merits but prior to doing so Madam Justice Bruce provided the following reasons confirming the 7 day jury strike deadline is not strictly applied under the current rules:
 Under the old Rule 35(4)(a), a pre-trial conference judge, the trial judge or a master could make an order that a trial be heard without a jury. The court interpreted this provision broadly; it permitted the application to be made outside the seven day time limit imposed in old Rule 39(27), which is for the most part identical to the new Rule 12-6(5). While the old Rule 35(4)(a) does not appear to have found its way into the new rules, the rationale behind permitting applications outside the strict seven day time limit remains consistent with the intent and purpose of the new rules. The ability to apply to strike the jury notice outside the strict time limit was necessary to ensure a fair trial and the court’s ability to respond to a change in circumstances surrounding the conduct of a trial. Further, it is apparent that a trial management judge has authority to grant the relief claimed by Ms. Dahl without any reference to the seven day time limit: Rule 12-2(9)(b). Lastly, the court has a discretion to extend time limits in appropriate circumstances without the necessity of a separate application: Rule 22-4(2).