The Parties to Cowichan Tribes et al. v. Canada et al. (Victoria File No. 14 1027) filed an E-Trial Consent Order with the British Columbia Supreme Court in July, in preparation for their trial set to begin September 9, 2019.
The E-Trial Consent Order builds on the orders filed at the Federal Court of Canada for Southwind and Jim Shot Both Sides in 2016 and 2018 respectively. However, this E-Trial Consent also has to navigate the administrative division that exists in the BCSC between court services and the judiciary.
The Consent Order says the parties plan to use the E-Trial software from REDI Analysis, which is what the Federal Court has used in the above-noted cases. REDI’s platform is hosted in the “cloud” (i.e. on a secure server somewhere other than the courthouse). It means that the parties, the Judge and the Court Clerk will need access to the internet during the trial. Thus, BC’s Court Services is prioritizing the installation of government wireless in the Victoria Courthouse that will assist and enable the E-Trial in Victoria’s Courtroom 404.
The Order also provides that, in order to ensure the courtroom is properly set up for the E-Trial, the parties and their E-Trial Consultant (Kate Gower), will need access to the courtroom the week before the trial begins. Again, this is something that is managed by communications with Court Scheduling at the Victoria courthouse.
Why this matters: This is one of very few filed E-Trial Orders, so it is another great resource for parties contemplating an E-Trial. It is also the first E-Trial Order like this to be filed in the BC Courts, so it is particularly useful for litigators in British Columbia. Finally, it is another example of parties working together to bring technology into courtrooms, and of how the Judiciary and Court Services are willing to work together to support the process.