The Ministry of the Attorney General is reviewing the possibility of permanent reforms relating to civil jury trials in British Columbia. BCLI provided a written report with legal research and options for reform in August 2021. To further the review, the Ministry requested 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
CBABC provided a letter to the Attorney General in July of 2020 stating its agreement to suspend civil jury trials as the pandemic began; this position was intended to reflect the temporary need to keep court users safe from COVID-19 exposure. CBABC canvassed members through a survey and other polling tools in the spring of 2021 about the resumption of civil jury trials. As the views were equally distributed, CBABC takes the position that there ought to be no decision to abolish civil jury trials at the present time; any decision on whether to abolish civil jury trials should only be made after jury trials resume and meaningful data is collected and analyzed.
The Auto Insurance Working Group prepared this submission in response to the consultation, and included feedback from Civil Litigation Section members.
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