This personal injury summary trial,(Parmar v. Lahay, 2011 BCSC 1628) pursuant to Rule 9‑7 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules, involved a motor vehicle accident that occurred one year before the hearing.  There was no claim for loss of wages or any future loss of capacity and the only question was how much compensation should be awarded for pain and suffering.
 In evidence were two opinions from the family doctor of the claimant.  What was recommended was physiotherapy treatment.  Six of those sessions were undertaken.  The Judge awarded $12,500.00 for pain and suffering  taking into account that the claimant continued to suffer neck and shoulder pain 13 months after the accident.  The cases quoted by the claimant were between $10,000 and $15,000.
Despite the fact this claim was within the Small Claims Court Jurisdiction the Judge still awarded a contribution toward the claimant’s legal fee.  The Court took judicial notice that the case reached the Court for decision much more quickly than if it had been commenced in Small Claims Court.  The Court also took judicial notice of the absence of a considerable number of judges at the Provincial Court level (Small Claims Court) and the backlog in hearing matters that the failure to appoint more judges had produced. The Judge stated the law in this way,

[8]  In Spencer v. Popham, 2010 BCSC 683, at para. 12, Punnett J. makes reference to the factors that give rise to a sufficient reason why a matter should be brought in Supreme Court as opposed to Provincial Court (Small Claims Division) and outlines those reasons while adopting the decision in Icecorp International Cargo Express Corp. v. Nicolaus, 2007 BCCA 97:

i.      the legal or factual complexity of the case.

ii.     the need for discovery of documents and examinations for discovery.

iii.     the need for a judgment enforceable outside of British Columbia.

iv.    a bona fide preference for a jury trial.

v.     access to the summary trial procedure available in Supreme Court.

[9]   I cannot reach the conclusion that the legal or factual complexity of the case, the need for discovery of documents and examination for discovery, and the need for a judgment enforceable outside of British Columbia are applicable reasons why this action was commenced in the Supreme Court of British Columbia rather than in Provincial Court.  However, I am satisfied that the summary trial procedure available in the Supreme Court and the availability of costs makes the Supreme Court a preferable and justified forum for this Action.

Posted byMr. Renn A. Holness

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