What Qualifies as a Fast Track Action?

In the recently published case of  Hemani v. Hillard, 2011 BCSC 1381  the court was asked whether a matter should stay in the Fast track Rule.  The Fast Track rule is meant to offer litigants a faster and less expensive mode of litigation for proceedings that can be tried in three days or less or where damages of less than $100,000 are being claimed.  One of the effects of the rule is that claimants are denied the opportunity to have the matter tried by a jury or to have the party and party costs assessed pursuant to the tariff – rather costs are fixed.

 

In this case the plaintiff acknowledged that her claim was less than $100,000.  However, the defendant submitted that the trial of the action would take more than three days and, on that basis, argued that the matter should be taken out of the Fast Track rule.  The court disagreed with the defendant’s lawyer’s interpretation of the rule.  In Master Bouck cited with approval the following analysis in McLachlin & Taylor’s British Columbia Practice.

 

[14]         The learned author states:

 

One could say that the 3-day trial limit is a condition subsequent to the continuing application of Rule 15-1, but the rules cited do not go that far. Put in other terms, it cannot be said that condition (c) is a true condition subsequent to the operation of Rule 15-1. Rather, if in the event it is not satisfied, that can result (depending on the stage of the proceeding when this is found to be the case) in the loss of a trial date or a denial of costs for the fourth and subsequent days of trial, but the action continues to be a fast track action until and unless the court, on its own motion or on the application of a party, so orders under Rule 15-1 (6).

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