From the BC Court of Appeal
J.L. Jordan, Registrar
June 7, 2005

Lost court days

Between January and May 2005, the Court of Appeal has lost almost 30 court days sitting time as a result of adjournments, settlements and incorrect time estimates.

The practice of the registry is to contact all counsel at least three weeks in advance of the hearing of the appeal to confirm the time estimate, to ensure that all materials are filed and to confirm that the appeal will proceed as scheduled. At this time, any potential problems with the date, time scheduled or potential settlements should be communicated to the scheduler. The time for the hearing of each appeal is set aside specifically for that appeal. There are no other cases waiting to proceed if an appeal is adjourned at the last minute.

Unforeseeable circumstances, such as illness of counsel or death of a family member, are legitimate reasons for seeking last-minute adjournments. However, counsel’s lack of preparation, late filings or personal convenience is not.

The Court of Appeal Rules provide clear timelines for all steps in the appeal process. The parties setting the appeal for hearing must file a certificate of readiness. The present fixed date system for hearing appeals depends on the professional responsibility of counsel to see that appeals proceed in a timely way and that a certificate of readiness is honoured.

The court respectfully reminds the profession of these matters so that future sitting dates will not be lost.