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Province considers future of civil jury trials

This public consultation builds on a report provided by the BC Law Institute, at the request of the Ministry of Attorney General.

Starting on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, the Province invites British Columbians to share their thoughts on the future of the civil jury process.

This public consultation is the next step in a process to determine what measures, if any, should be implemented by the Province in relation to civil juries to support courts and the individuals who use them.

Provinces throughout Canada approach civil jury trials differently. In some provinces, the trials are widely available with few requirements, while in others there are more restrictions, such as being limited to cases of defamation. One province has eliminated civil jury trials entirely.

The three options government is considering are:

  • continuing with civil jury trials, with or without changes to law and practice;
  • restricting jury trials to particular cases, such as defamation, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution; or
  • abolishing jury trials in civil matters.

This public consultation builds on a report provided by the BC Law Institute, at the request of the Ministry of Attorney General. The ministry requested the institute conduct legal research on civil jury trials and suggest options for consideration by the Province.

The feedback gathered will be used to inform the Province's next steps as it works with the judiciary to continually improve access to justice and achieve a strong and effective justice system for British Columbians.

The consultation will run until Sept. 30, 2021. To read the white paper and provide input, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/about-bcs-justice-system/legislation-policy/current-reviews/civil-jury-trials

Jury trials were suspended in March 2020 to help courts remain safe and minimize the impact of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Civil jury trials are suspended until Oct. 8, 2022. Criminal jury trials resumed in September 2020.

Learn More:

To learn more about the suspension of civil jury trials in B.C., visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021AG0027-000361