“What E-Trials are running in BC right now?” is a question that several different judges have recently asked counsel to research. The British Columbia Supreme Court is on track to start holding virtual hearings, but questions remain about how to handle documents and exhibits. To help everyone, here is a summary of the cases currently before the BC courts that are running as E-Hearings and presenting, marking-up and entering documents and exhibits electronically:
Hutchison v. Moore – Trial ran on CaseLines before Justice Dev Dley in Spring 2019. It is destined for the BC Court of Appeal in Fall 2020, still using CaseLines. Bill MacLeod. Q.C. was instrumental in getting the case running as an E-Trial and brought me in as the E-Trial Consultant to ensure the process ran as smoothly as possible for all parties and the Court. Read more about that E-Trial.
Cowichan Tribes v. B.C. – All parties and the Court are using the E-Trial program from REDI in this action (now re-branded as the “E-Trial Toolkit”). I was retained as the E-Trial Expert for all counsel to guide them and the Court into the E-Trial environment. Trial began in Fall 2019 before Justice Young, and continues. Read more about that E-Trial.
Saik’uz (Thomas v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc) – I posted a blog on the Saik’uz E-Trial running before Justice Kent in January 2020, describing that E-Trial Platform. Trial began in Fall 2020. Generally speaking, it is running an E-Trial Platform (agreed processes and hardware) very similar that we used in West Moberly v. BC (see note below) but using Sync.com to house electronic documents. Read more about that E-Trial.
The Nutchatlaht v. BC – The Plaintiffs used CaseLines to argue their portion of a series of applications before Justice Myers in Fall 2019. I was legal counsel and facilitated Jack Woodward Q.C. making his argument on this E-Trial Platform in the Vancouver courthouse. These E-Hearings relied on a chambers record. CaseLines made it easy to find documents and direct the Court and all parties to what was being discussed. Read more about those E-Hearings.
There are also various E-Trials that run with parties all agreeing to certain processes and hardware. For example, we set up an E-Trial Platform for West Moberly v. BC without using any proprietary software. (Read more about that E-Trial here and the costs application where we used the E-Trial Platform again here.)
Why this matters: I want to do my part to ensure lawyers and the Court can build on the technology already being used in the BC Courts. I share this information on what E-Trials are running in BC whenever I can in presentations and conversations, since my goal is to use these technologies and my experiences with them to improve justice process and, ultimately, access to justice.
I believe that these processes are even more important now that the justice system is engaging with virtual hearings, since they support all users’ ability to locate and discussed documentation in this new environment.
* A reminder that I define an E-Trial as a trial where the Court both views documents and receives exhibits in the digital environment. In an E-Trial, a lawyer can (a) find a document and easily direct all other parties and the court to that document, (b) cause the document to be marked up or annotated, and (c) enter the document as an exhibit – all in the digital environment.