Personal injury lawyers in Vancouver are in often required to travel to remote areas of British Columbia to examine witnesses. This Supreme Court case however may help change all that. In Schroeder v. Sweeney, 2014 BCSC 1843 the defendant was trying to force the Claimant to attend Examination for Discovery at an Okanagan court reporters office. The Judge refused and stated that,
I have always understood the default position (for parties resident in B.C.) to be that if the parties could not agree, the party would be discovered at that party’s [lawyer’s] office… The part of the application that the plaintiff attend Okanagan Court Reporters is dismissed and instead of that, the order is that the [claimant]attend at examination for discovery at the offices of his [lawyer].
For the personal injury lawyers out there Supreme Court Rule 7-2(11) needs a bit of further analysis. First you are to find a Registry closest to where the party to be discovered resides in British Columbia and then you are to find a location within 30 kilometres of that court registry. The rule does not say that the discovery is to take place at the registry, although historically that is where discoveries did take place.
One great reason to have the examination for discovery at the office of the lawyer, according the the court, is that the full documents in the possession of that party will be available. A second reason is that the party being examined is in a surrounding where that party’s lawyer practises and so the party is presumably more comfortable there.
Remember this is meant to be a default position in the event the lawyers cannot agree on the location of the discoveries. This rule may be of some importance to personal injury lawyers that represent claimants in many different regions of the Province.
Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, serving all of British Columbia
ISSUE: Should injury claimants have to travel more than 30 Km to be questioned under oath in a personal injury lawsuit?