Vancouver Robson Square small claims court pilot – Rule 7.5
This fact sheet provides information on trial conferences and how to prepare for them. The trial conference is a new process included in the provincial small claims court pilot project underway at Vancouver Robson Square. The pilot is a joint justice reform initiative of the Provincial Court and the provincial government.
What is a trial conference?
A trial conference is a half-hour conference with a judge that takes place before your case proceeds to trial. A trial conference is held if your case is exempted from mediation or did not settle at mediation. At the trial conference the judge will review the claim and determine the amount of time needed for trial. The judge may make other orders for the hearing of the trial. The judge may also decide on any issues that do not require evidence, dismiss claims which are without reasonable grounds or an abuse of the court’s process or give a non-binding opinion on the probable outcome of the trial.
Who attends the trial conference?
The person responsible for presenting your case at the trial must attend. That may either be you as the party, your lawyer, or your insurer (if your insurer is defending a claim made against you). You may also bring a lawyer or articled student with you. Witnesses should not attend.
How do I prepare for the trial conference?
The Robson Square court registry will send you a notice of trial conference and a trial statement form (form 33) showing the date of your trial conference.
The trial statement is a form which summarizes your case. Before the trial conference the judge will review the trial statement filed by you and the other parties. At least 14 days before your trial conference you must file your trial statement at the court registry. You must serve the other parties with your trial statement at least seven (7) days before the trial conference.
To complete your trial statement, follow the directions on the form. You can also find the form at: www.gov.bc.ca – type “court services” in the search bar. You must attach a statement of facts in date order, a calculation of the amount claimed, copies of the relevant documents, and a list of witnesses you intend to call with a brief summary of what each witness will say. Unless the nature of the document renders it impossible, the trial statement, and every document attached, must be reproduced on 8 1/2 inch x 11 inch paper, single-sided and unbound.
If you will need an interpreter for your trial conference you must make arrangements beforehand for an interpreter to attend. Please contact the Robson Square court registry for more information.
What do I bring to the trial conference?
You should bring your trial statement and the trial statements you received from the other parties. You should also bring your calendar because the judge may direct you to schedule a trial date.
What if I need to change the date of the trial conference?
If you cannot make the date set for your trial conference, you can request to have the date changed. You should first ask all the other parties to agree in writing to the change. If they agree, then you can file a consent order, with their written consents, at the Robson Square court registry.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with all the parties, you may file an application to the registrar (form 16). The application must explain the reason you want to change the date and that you asked the other parties for their consent. The application must be filed with the court registry at least seven (7) days prior to the trial conference date. If the application is granted by the registrar, a new date will be set for your trial conference.
What happens if I don’t attend the trial conference?
If you are the claimant, your claim may be dismissed. If you are the defendant, a payment order may be made against you.
Is this pilot project being evaluated?
Yes. Starting in the fall 2008 and into early 2009, a research firm will conduct a telephone survey of some of the parties who have gone through small claims court. No identifying information will be used in the survey report.
Although participation in the survey is optional, the evaluation will be very important in determining whether the changes to the small claims process will be used or modified in other parts of the province. It will be helpful, therefore, if you can take the time to provide feedback if contacted through the survey.
For more information,
Refer to small claims rule 7.5
or contact the Robson Square small claims court registry
Telephone: 604 660-8989 Facsimile (fax): 604 660-7095