New deadline for submissions: October 1, 2002

Government issues consultation paper in Civil Liability Review

The Law Society's Futures Committee, Access to Justice Subcommittee and Independence of the Bar Subcommittee urge lawyers to look at the critical issues raised in the provincial government's civil liability review. The committees also invite lawyers to send the Law Society a copy of any submission they prepare for government or to bring forward any questions, concerns or issues of importance they wish the Law Society to consider.

The Ministry of Attorney General recently announced a law reform initiative to review provincial civil liability laws. As part of this Civil Liability Review, the Ministry has issued a consultation paper and a feedback questionnaire to solicit the views of interested parties.

The deadline for responses, originally set for June 15, has been extended to October 1, 2002.

According to the Ministry, the primary focus of the Civil Liability Review is to consider "whether it is appropriate to impose reasonable limits on civil liability where it is fair to do so and consistent with our expectations that the justice system be efficient, accessible and affordable."

The civil liability review will canvass six topics:

1. Limitation laws

2. Joint and several liability

3. Costs in class action suits

4. Vicarious liability holding employers responsible for the actions of their employees

5. Non-delegable duty doctrine

6. Alternatives to traditional "lump sum" damage awards

The government invites lawyers and others to raise additional topics of interest or concern and to suggest other areas of civil liability they think should be considered for reform.

In the Civil Liability Review consultation paper, the Ministry specifies that, in the area of motor vehicle injury claims, it will not be considering such options as threshold, first-offer or no-fault insurance.

The Ministry of Attorney General's consultation paper, questionnaire and background materials are available at

If you are planning a submission to the Attorney General, or have already sent one, please send a copy to the Law Society for consideration by the Futures Committee, Access to Justice Subcommittee and Independence of the Bar Subcommittee.

If you are not planning a submission, but have comments or concerns you would like to draw to the attention of the Law Society, please do so. Copies of submissions and any comments can be sent for consideration by the Futures Committee and its subcommittees to:

Charlotte Ensminger,
Staff Lawyer, Policy & Planning
Law Society of British Columbia
845 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 4Z9
Fax: (604) 443-5770.