Tag: Rule 7-2(11)

Absent Agreement Discoveries To Take Place At Lawyers Office

Reasons for judgement were released today (Schroeder v. Sweeney) by the BC Supreme Court, Kelowna Registry, addressing a practice point.  Where are examinations for discovery to take place if the parties can’t agree?  Master McDiarmid ruled that the default is the lawyer’s office of the party being examined.  The court provided the following reasons:

[4]             Subrule 7-2(11) needs a bit of analysis. It provides, firstly, that you are to find a Registry closest to where the party to be discovered resides in British Columbia and then you are to find a location within 30 kilometres of that registry. It does not say that the discovery is to take place at the registry, although in the past that is where discoveries did take place. All of the larger registries had rooms where examinations for discovery occurred. It is true that often the most convenient location is the place where the court reporters carry on their business.

[5]             However, I have always understood the default position (for parties resident in B.C.) to be that if the parties could not agree, the party would be discovered at that party’s counsel’s office.

[6]             There are reasons why that is convenient to the party. One reason is that the full documents in the possession of that party will be available. A second is that the party being examined is in a surrounding where that party’s counsel practises and so the party is presumably somewhat more comfortable there.

[7]             In responding to this particular application, I reviewed some comments — and not unreasonable comments by the plaintiff, where he deposes basically, that yes, he  could go to the court reporter’s office, but he does depose to some issues with parking. That does, to some extent, impact on his convenience. It seems to me though that the — what I am going to call the default provision which was certainly the provision I understood as counsel was that if parties could not agree, the discovery should take place at the office of the counsel representing the party to be discovered. The matter is somewhat of an important practice point.

[8]             I am dismissing the application and ordering that the discovery take place at the office of the plaintiff’s counsel. The part of the application that the plaintiff attend Okanagan Court Reporters is dismissed and instead of that, the order is that the plaintiff attend at examination for discovery at the offices of his counsel.

Examinations for Discovery and Location: When Parties Live Outside BC


I recently looked into the issue of location for examinations for discovery where a party to the lawsuit resides out of the Country.  I came across a useful decision (Bronson v. Hewitt) addressing this issue under the former Rules of Court.
In Bronson, a lawsuit was started in the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.  The trial was scheduled to be heard in Vancouver and all the lawyers involved in the case practiced in Vancouver.  The Defendants lived in South Carolina.  The Plaintiff wanted to force the Defendants to come to Vancouver for examination for discovery.  The Defendants opposed arguing the discovery should take place in South Carolina.  Mr. Justice Goepel agreed with the Defendants.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:

Lewis and Browning rely on R. 27(14).  That Rule reads:

Unless the court otherwise orders, or the parties to the examination consent, an examination for discovery shall take place at a location within 10 kilometres of the registry that is nearest to the place where the person to be examined resides.

Lewis and Browning submit that R. 27(14) supports their contention that prima facie a party has a right to be examined at their residence and that the plaintiffs have not filed any material which would lead the court to rule otherwise.

In Banque Indosuez v. Canadian Overseas Airlines Ltd. et al., [1989] B.C.J. No. 930 (S.C.) Skipp L.J.S.C.  reviewed the authorities and concluded:

I respectfully adopt the reasoning of Trainor J. in Hamstra v. B.C. Rugby Union et al., Vancouver Registry C865223 (B.C.S.C.), to the effect that if anyone seeks to vary the prima facie location being the residence of the person sought to be examined the court then looks at what is just and convenient for the person to be examined rather than for the solicitor of the person to be examined.

In Lo v. Lo[1991] B.C.J. No. 3005 (S.C.) Master Wilson stated:

I understand Banque Indosuez to be authority for this principle, that subrule 14 is the primary determinant of the place for the examination for discovery of persons residing outside of British Columbia.

If the prima facie rule is to be changed then the court looks at what is just and convenient for the person to be examined, not for counsel.

I am of a similar view.  The default position is that non-resident parties are entitled to be examined at their place of residence.  This conclusion is consistent with R. 27(26), which sets out that the rules governing discovery apply so far as practical to persons residing outside the province.   One of those rules is R. 27(14) which sets out that absent consent or a court order, a party is entitled to be discovered at the registry nearest to the party’s residence.  There is no reason why a non-resident party should be treated any less generously than a party who resides in British Columbia.  All parties have a prima facie right to be discovered where they reside.

The court does have the power to order that a discovery take place at a different location.  In making such an order, the court’s main consideration is the convenience of the party being examined.  Convenience of counsel is not a proper basis to compel a party to travel to Vancouver for a discovery.

In the circumstances of this case, it would not be just or convenient to compel Ms. Lewis or Ms. Browning to come to Vancouver.  They are entitled to be examined at their place of residence.  Their discovery will be in Greenville, South Carolina.

This decision was based on the former Rules of Court and to my knowledge no reported decisions address the issue of location for discovery under the New Rules.  The result, however, would likely be identical under the New Rules because the former Rule 27(14) is substantively reproduced at Rule 7-2(11) of the New Rules and the former Rule 27(26) is reproduced at Rule 7-2(27) of the New Rules.

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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.

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