BC Justice Reform Task Force to release draft rewrite of Supreme Court Rules

The Civil Rules Drafting Group is set to release its draft rewrite of the Supreme Court Rules for review and comment by the profession and the public, delivering on one of the key recommendations in the report of the Civil Justice Reform Working Group (CJRWG).

The CJRWG is part of the BC Justice Review Task Force, which was established in March 2002 on the initiative of the Law Society to identify reforms to make the justice system more responsive, accessible and cost-effective. The task force includes representatives from the judiciary, the Law Society, the Canadian Bar Association and the Ministry of Attorney General.

In November 2006, the CJRWG released Effective and Affordable Civil Justice, a 142-page report setting out three broad recommendations to improve access to justice in BC:

  • creation of a single place or “hub” where people can get the information and services they require to resolve legal problems on their own;
  • introduction of case planning conferences to support identification of issues and exploration of settlement possibilities in litigation; and
  • revision of the Supreme Court Rules to streamline procedures and to create more flexibility, so that legal processes are proportional to the value, complexity and importance of the case.

Following the release of the CJRWG’s report, the task force formed the Civil Rules Drafting Group to rewrite the Supreme Court Rules, under the direction of a steering committee made up of BC Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Brenner, Deputy Attorney General Allan Seckel, QC, Mr. Justice Malcolm Macaulay and Assistant Deputy Minister of Judicial Services Jerry McHale, QC.

On July 23, 2007, the task force will post the concept draft of the new Supreme Court Rules to its online forum — bcjusticereviewforum.ca/civilrules— for review and comment. BC lawyers are encouraged to post their comments on the proposed rule changes to that online forum by the end of October.