BC Streamlined Chambers Process (Rule 51A)
BC Supreme Court rule, and proposed replacement, that requires an exchange of materials in advance of chambers applications.
Supreme Court of British Columbia
|July 1, 2001||Rule 51A came into force province-wide|
|July 2007||Draft Rules released|
|July 1, 2010||Projected implementation of new rules|
Rule 51A, governing originating and interlocutory applications in chambers, came into force on July 1, 2001. It is a province-wide extension of the former Rule 65, the Chambers Pilot Project in the Vancouver registry. Rule 51A incorporates a number of suggestions that were made by the bar based on the pilot.
Rule 51A (Setting Down Applications for Hearing)
"The rule establishe[s] a process for setting down matters in chambers and requiring the exchange of materials in advance of the hearing which serve to focus the legal and factual basis of the application and the position of the party in response" (Access to Justice at 10).
Proposed Rule 14-1
The proposed new Rules of Civil Procedure incorporate Rule 51A as Rule 14-1. The new Rule significantly simplifies the procedures currently set out in Rule 51A, which "should serve to somewhat decrease current barriers faced by self-represented litigants in accessing the Supreme Court" (LSS Submission at 9).
Chief Justice Justice Brenner in his discussion of Rule 51A shortly after its implementation, reported that:
In 2006, speaking of Rule 51A, Madam Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg of the B.C. Supreme Court stated that:
Rule 51A has had its detractors who say that the structure of the process has rendered preparing for a chambers hearing more expensive. However, against that it must be acknowledged that a great deal of counsel time with corresponding cost to litigants was formerly wasted in lawyers attending and waiting through long lists in chambers before being heard. The theory behind Rule 51A and the need for such a structure is nearly universally acknowledged. Some tweaking of the procedures and notice periods in the rule could assist in disarming detractors.