BCLI Study Paper Serves as Platform for Attorney General’s Consultation on Civil Juries

19 August 2021

By British Columbia Law Institute

As part of its public consultation on the future of civil juries in British Columbia, the Ministry of Attorney General has drawn on a study paper written by  BCLI titled Civil Juries in British Columbia: Anachronism or Cornerstone of the Civil Justice Process to inform the discussion.  

Following a request from the Ministry, BCLI conducted comparative legal research and analysis on civil juries and outlined several options for reform. The paper examines the use of civil juries in British Columbia utilizing statistics collected and compiled specifically for use in the study by the Court Services Branch. The report goes on to consider the availability (or non-availability) of civil jury trials across Canada as well as in several major common law countries, namely the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. These countries were selected because their legal systems closely resemble those of the common law provinces of Canada, including BC. Finally, the paper presents various options for civil jury reform in BC and explores their implications.

The Attorney General is seeking public input on three of the options covered in the paper:

  1. Retaining civil juries, either with or without accompanying reforms to law and practice relating to them;
  2. Restricting civil jury trial to particular types of claims (e.g., libel, slander, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution);
  3. Abolition of civil juries.

The Ministry is asking for public comment on this issue to be submitted to the Ministry by e-mail to PLD@gov.bc.ca by September 30, 2021.

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