Review of civil jury trials in British Columbia
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the courts, government amended the Supreme Court Civil Rules to suspend civil jury trials until October 8, 2022.
The Ministry of Attorney General is now reviewing the possibility of permanent reforms relating to civil jury trials in British Columbia. To inform this review, the Ministry requested that the British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) carry out comparative legal research on civil jury trials and outline options for reform. The outcome of this review is reflected in the BCLI paper: Civil Juries in British Columbia: Anachronism or Cornerstone of the Civil Justice Process.
To further the review, the Ministry is requesting feedback on the policy options set out in the BCLI paper, specifically on options 1, 2 and 3:
- Retain the civil jury with or without implementation of rationalizing reforms and increasing the monetary threshold for jury trial
- Restrict jury trial to specified causes of action
- Abolition of civil juries
While the paper includes an option 4, which is to extend the current suspension of civil jury trials indefinitely or until a remote date several years away, it is not under consideration as the suspension is already in place until October 2022 and a decision about the future of civil juries is desired.
Should the outcome of the Ministry’s review be that civil jury trials should be retained, the Ministry will engage further on whether and how they could be reformed.
Please provide feedback by September 30, 2021, to the Policy and Legislation Division, Justice Services Branch, by email to: PLD@gov.bc.ca
Please note that submissions may be subject to disclosure under freedom of information legislation.