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BC Fast Track Litigation (Rule 66)

Year:
1998

Description:
BC Supreme Court fast track rules that apply to actions which will likely take 2 or less days of trial time.

Status:
Permanent implementation

Jurisdiction:
British Columbia

Court:
BC Supreme Court

Timeline:
1998: Fast Track procedure implemented in Vancouver, New Westminster and Kamloops as a pilot project
2002: Rule 66 took effect province-wide.
July 1, 2010: Projected implementation of new Rules, replacing Rule 66

Publications:
British Columbia, Supreme Court Rules,External Link r. 66.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia Notice to the Profession Re: Fast Track Rule 66 The Advocate 56:5 (September 1998) 757.
David Roberts, “Rule 66: A good start” 56:5 (September 1998) The Advocate 725.
Amendments to Subrules 66(6) and (7) BarTalk 15:1 (February 2003).
“Entre nous” 61:2 (March 2003) The Advocate 169. [Entre Nous]
Law Courts Education Society, Guidebooks for Representing Yourself in Supreme Court: Fast Track Litigation in Supreme CourtPDFExternal Link (Vancouver: Law Courts Education Society, 2005).
BC Justice Review Task Force. Civil Justice Reform Working Group, Effective and affordable civil justice: Report of the Civil Justice Reform Working Group to the Justice Review Task Force (2006).
Key Features of the New Civil Rules, Family Rules and Court FeesPDFExternal Link (BC Justice Review Task Force, July 2009). [Key Features]

Related Reforms:
Proposed replacement: BC Fast Track Litigation Proceedings (Part 15)
See also BC Expedited Litigation Project (Rule 68)
See also BC Justice Review Task Force – Case Plan Orders

Development:
Rule 66 grew out of the BC Supreme Court’s Litigation Management Committee discussion of a multiple track system. The Committee was comprised of members of the bar, the court, representatives of the federal and provincial Attorneys-General and the public. Submissions were received from members of the legal profession, and drafting help was received from the Rules Revision Committee. The fast track rules began as a pilot project running from September 1, 1998.

In its November 2006 report, the BC Justice Review Task Force made a number of recommendations for the re-writing of the Supreme Court Rules. After several drafts and consultations, it was announced that the new civil and family rules have been adopted and will be fully implemented July 1, 2010.

Part 15, the new fast track litigation rule, combines old Rules 68 and 66, governing expedited litigation and fast track litigation, respectively, “to provide a single simplified and fast procedure when the amount in controversy is $100,000 or less or when the trial of the action can be completed in three days or less” (Key Features at 3).

Purpose:
The purpose of Fast Track litigation is to reduce delays and the cost of litigation of actions which can be completed in two trial days.

Description of Reforms:
Rule 66 applies to actions which will likely take 2 or less days of trial time. For Rule 66 to apply, either the plaintiff or the defendant must opt for fast track at the time of the Statement of Claim or Statement of Defence. Features of Rule 66 include:

  • Discovery is limited to two hours per party.
  • There are no interrogatories.
  • No jury trials.
  • The trial date must be applied for within four months of the case going on Fast Track. The date assigned for trial will be within four months of the date of application.
  • Parties are required to file a trial agenda which will set out how the two day trial is to proceed.
  • Costs are set at fixed amounts.

Results:
In a 2003 Advocate editorial, Rule 66 was praised as a “versatile and useful tool… placed in the hands of litigators wishing to have a civil dispute of modest dimensions adjudicated in a speedy, comparatively inexpensive, yet just manner.” (Entre Nous)

According to the Justice Review Task Force reportExploring Fundamental Change, a Supreme Court evaluation found that Rule 66 was not successful in fully achieving its objectives. Further evaluation of economical litigation alternatives led to the implementation of the Rule 68 Expedited Litigation Project.

Revision History:
This summary was last reviewed in Oct 24, 2013