E-Hearings are underway for lengthy chambers applications in The Nuchatlaht v. BC [VA 17-0606] before Justice Myers of the British Columbia Supreme Court. The Plaintiffs elected to argue their portion of three applications using the E-Trial platform, Caselines. This is the first time Caselines has been used in Canada for chambers applications.
In their Claim, The Nuchatlaht ask for a declaration of Aboriginal title to territory on the west coast of Vancouver Island, which covers a portion of Nootka Island and the surrounding area. In the past months, Her Majesty the Queen in the Right of the Province of British Columbia (BC) filed three applications, requesting orders for further documents, for relief from an implied undertaking and that certain opinion evidence is inadmissible.
Why this matters: These applications were based on a paper record. The materials were filed with the Court ahead of time, and they were voluminous – easily filing three binders for just one of the three applications.
However, since the application materials had been identified ahead of time, it was a simple step to load them into Caselines. Once all the documents were in the digital environment, the Plaintiffs were not required to bring binders of documents into court, or to circulate paper and binders to all parties. When presenting its case, any document Plaintiffs counsel referred to was instantly in front of the Court and all other parties. Documents previously referred to could also be displayed on the monitors for context or emphasis.
The fact that the Plaintiffs used Caselines for their portion of the applications did not mean that any other party was obliged to use the program, though it was made available to all parties and the Court. Caselines had a representative in the courtroom during the applications, to support any party that required training or support.
The BC Supreme Court had its first experience with Caselines this summer in the Hutchison E-Trial, but these were the first e-hearings for chambers applications that used Caselines.