On January 1, 2008 the BC Supreme Court’s Expedited Litigation program will be expanded to apply across British Columbia. The pilot project for the program, which was enacted in 2005, is currently only applicable to cases in the Vancouver, Victoria, Prince George and Nelson Registries.
The Expedited Litigation program is established in Rule 68 of the Rules of Court and is intended to allow faster, cheaper resolution of claims for less than $100,000 by:
- Limiting pre-trial discovery processes. Document disclosure is limited, simplified and expedited and examinations for discovery can only occur by agreement or court order.
- Requiring parties to exchange information early in the litigation. Parties are required, for example, to exchange lists of witnesses and written summaries of the evidence that they expect to give at trial.
- Encouraging more judicial case management. At trial management conferences held 15 and 30 days before trial, a judge may set limits on direct and cross-examination of witnesses, opening statements and final submissions.
Implementation of the program across the province should allow parties to smaller, relatively straightforward cases, including many wrongful dismissal claims, to get a result quickly and with less expense.