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Civil Procedure

British Columbia's new civil court rules in force effective today (July 1, 2010)

Topics: - Civil Procedure
Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

British Columbia's new civil court rules are in force effective today (July 1, 2010). I have already written about the new rules in an April 28, 2010 post that can be found here.

Some additional resources that address the changes the new rules will bring to the civil court system - including employment law cases in Supreme Court - are as follows:  read more »

British Columbia's "Employment Law Conference 2010" (CLE)

As I noted in my post a few days ago, I presented a paper on The Law on Workplace Investigations: An Update on Key Developments on May 13, 2010 at the BC "Employment Law Conference 2010" Continuing Legal Education (CLE).

The other presenters on Day 1, and their topics, were:  read more »

Presentation: "The Law on Workplace Investigations: An Update on Key Developments"

I presented a paper on The Law on Workplace Investigations: An Update on Key
today at the BC "Employment Law Conference 2010" Continuing Legal Education (CLE). The paper can be found at the bottom of this post. The topics I covered were:

  1. Does an Employer Have a Common Law Duty to Provide the Employee with a Fair Hearing/Conduct an Investigation?
  2. What Exposure to Liability/Damages Does an Employer Face for Failing to Properly Conduct an Investigation?
  3. Conducting the Investigation
  4. The Use of Lawyers as Expert Witnesses on Workplace Investigations
  5. Recovery of Costs Associated With Investigating Criminal Wrongdoing
  6. What Duties do Employees Have in Relation to Workplace Investigations?
  7. Privilege Concerns and Workplace Investigations

The last time I presented at the Employment Law CLE - in 2006 - my topic was Reference Letters.

Dismissed employee can examine immediate supervisor; tort claim against affiliated company allowed to proceed

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Forestry

The decision in Higginson v. Babine Forest Products Ltd., 2010 BCSC 614, concerned pre-trial applications in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit about the following issues:

  1. which employer representative should be required to submit to an examination for discovery and
  2. the court's jurisdiction over a US company affiliated with the employer, and a claim against that company for inducing breach of the employment contract.

The plaintiff had 34 years of service and was in a managerial position at a mill when he was dismissed. He was dismissed for failing to perform his duties.

In this decision, the court determined that:  read more »

The BC CLE "New Civil Rules 2010" conference

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

I attended the BC CLE New Civil Rules 2010 conference yesterday and today. The new rules come into force on July 1, 2010.  They are the culmination of a justice reform initiative that commenced in 2002.

The BC Ministry of Attorney General notes the following about the new rules on  its website:

The new rules are meant to make the civil and family justice systems more responsive, accessible and efficient.  They were developed through extensive research and broad consultation and were finalized by the Rules Revision Committee, a committee of senior judges, and experienced private and public sector lawyers.

The new rules will significantly impact on the manner in which BC Supreme Court civil trials - including wrongful dismissal lawsuits - are filed, prosecuted and defended. This is likely why this was one of the best attended CLEs I have ever been to.

The topics covered at the conference were as follows:  read more »

Human resources director allowed to attend Examination for Discovery of COO, provide instructions to lawyer

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Transportation

At issue in Oates v. Williams Moving & Storage (B.C.), 2009 BCSC 1628, was which employer representatives could attend an Examination for Discovery ("Examination") in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

An Examination is a proceeding that allows each party to question the other party under oath about the issues in dispute prior to the trial.  The transcripts from the Examination can then be used by the parties at the trial to assist in arguing their case. 


The employer had initially taken the position that its Director of Human and Organizational Capital (the "Director") was the appropriate corporate representative to be examined by the former employee.

The former employee, however, chose to examine the employer's Chief Operating Officer ("COO"). The employee had the right to make this request under Rule 27(4) of the BC Supreme Court Rules.  read more »

Fact Sheet: Simplified Procedure under rule 76 of the Rules of Civil Procedure in Ontario

Topics: - Civil Procedure
Jurisdiction: - Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of Attorney General has prepared a "Fact Sheet: Simplified Procedure under rule 76 of the Rules of Civil Procedure". The Fact Sheet outlines the Rule 76 simplified procedure in place in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice effective January 1, 2010.

Double costs awarded against employer for failing to accept employee's settlement offers in wrongful dismissal case

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Hutson v. Michaels of Canada, ULC, 2009 BCSC 1587, the court awarded the dismissed employee "double" court costs because of the employer's failure to accept the employee's pre-trial settlement offers.


The decision dealing with the merits of the wrongful dismissal lawsuit was delivered orally by the BC Supreme Court on September 18, 2009. This decision does not appear to be reported. The decision dealing with the costs award is reported and offers some information about the merits of the lawsuit.

The employee was dismissed for just cause on August 29, 2005 because of an altercation with/alleged assault on another employee. He had approximately 12 years of service.

In October 2005, the employee (through his lawyer) offered to settle the matter for $100,000. The employer did not accept the offer.

In January 2006, the employee commenced his lawsuit.  read more »

Judge declines to award special costs in case where unionized employee sued employer in court

The BC Supreme Court judge in Johnston v. Surrey (City), 2009 BCSC 1520, refused to award special costs in a case where a unionized employee filed a lawsuit in court against his employer alleging constructive dismissal.


The long term employee filed a lawsuit in spring 2008 against the defendant employer (and a named individual) alleging that he was constructively dismissed.

Upon receipt of the Statement of Claim, the employer advised the employee of its position that:

  1. the circumstances giving rise to the constructive dismissal - a layoff -  occurred in 1995 and 1996 and thus were time barred by the limitation period set out in the BC Limitation Act; and
  2. the employee was a unionized employee and therefore the claim was not within the jurisdiction of the court.

The employee further requested that the Claim be withdrawn failing which the employer would bring an application to strike the Claim pursuant to Rule 19(24) and seek special costs  read more »