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Practice Tip From the Bench: Don't Unilaterally Schedule Hearing Dates

While it is possible for litigants to unilaterally schedule matters under the BC Supreme Court Rules, such a practice is discourteous and not warmly received by the judiciary.  Earlier this year I highlighted judicial criticism of a unilaterally scheduled examination for discovery.  I have recently been provided with unreported reasons for judgement criticising this practice in the context of a scheduled summary trial.
In the recent case (Lumley v. Balilo) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision.  Prior to trial the Defendant scheduled a summary trial application with a unilaterally selected date.  The Plaintiff objected to this practice and further to the merits of the attempt to dispose of the claim summarily.  The Court ultimately dismissed the application on the merits but prior to doing so Madam Justice Dillon provided the following practice advice to counsel considering unilaterally set dates:
[14]  …I consider that the date was unilaterally set, it being the focus of this court under the new rules to encourage direct discussion between counsel with respect to such matters as setting dates and other things so that it does not come for argument as it has today before this court.  So that is a practice point to bring to the attention of counsel, which is certainly not determinative of my disposition of the matter today but as a matter of practice counsel should discuss between themselves available dates.
To my knowledge this recent case is not publicly available but as always I am happy to provide a copy to anyone who contacts me and requests one.

bc injury law, Lumley v. Balilo, Madam Justice Dillon, unilateral hearing setting

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