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BC Supreme Court Rules Fast Track Litigation (Part 15)

Year:
2005

Description:
The new fast track rule combines the existing expedited litigation rule (formerly Rule 68) and the fast track rule (formerly Rule 66) 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. If the matter fits the fast track criteria, either party may put the case into the fast track. Either party can apply to have the case removed from the fast track (or the court may do so on its own).

Status:
Permanent implementation

Jurisdiction:
British Columbia

Court:
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Body Responsible:
Attorney General of British Columbia

Timeline:
July 2002: BC Justice Review Task Force report released
September 2005: Two year pilot project launched
November 2006: Effective and Affordable Civil Justice released
January 2008: Rule extended province wide
December 2008: Second draft rules consultation concluded
July 1, 2010: Implementation of new rules, replacing Rules 66 and 68

Publications:
Key Features of the New Civil Rules, Family Rules and Court Fees (BC Justice Review Task Force). [Key Features]
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).
William McCallum, “Procedures for dealing with smaller claims – British Columbia Supreme Court” Presented to Into the Future: The Agenda for Civil Justice Reform, Montréal, Québec, 30 April – 2 May 2006.
Exploring fundamental change : a compendium of potential justice system reforms (BC Justice Review Task Force, 2002). [Exploring Fundamental Change]

Development:
Simplified procedures for “economical track litigation” was identified as a potential area of reform in the BC Justice Review Task Force’s 2002 report Exploring Fundamental Change, with analysis of Rule 66, Fast Track Litigation, serving as a basis for discussion. Following this report, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Supreme Court worked together to explore ‘economical litigation’ models. (Green Paper at 13)

The result of this was the Expedited Litigation Pilot Project. The two-year pilot project commenced on September 1, 2005 in Vancouver, Victoria, Prince George, and Nelson. The rule was extended province-wide as of January 1, 2008.

In its November 2006 report, the BC Justice Review Task Force analyzed the effect of Rule 68 and made a number of recommendations. 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 Rule 68 with Rule 66 “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:
“[T]o 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).
Description of Reforms:

If the matter fits the fast track criteria, either party may put the case into the fast track. Either party can apply to have the case removed from the fast track (or the court may do so on its own).

In a fast track action, the parties cannot file contested applications without first attending a case planning conference. Oral discovery in fast track actions are (absent consent) limited to two hours combined by all parties adverse in interest. Costs in fast track actions are limited to $8,000 for one day trials, $9,500 for two day trials and $11,000 for trials lasting three or more days. Most importantly, if a plaintiff recovers judgment of $100,000 (or less) or a trial is completed in three days (or less) the limited cost provisions apply. This will provide an incentive to ensure that cases that should be in the fast track are put into the fast track (Key Features at 3-4).

Revision History:
This summary was last reviewed in Aug 09, 2012