Thursday, August 19, 2021

Provincial Government seeks counsel of British Columbians on future for civil trial Jury process

The Province of BC wants your opinion on what the future
for civil jury trials should be

Depending on the recommendations that they receive and the path that they choose to take, the volume of trial by jury cases in British Columbia may soon see some changes.

Starting today, the Province has launched a public consultation to provide British Columbians the opportunity share their opinions on the future of the civil jury process.

Towards the review of the current situation, the government is offering three options for consideration:

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

Abolishing jury trials in civil matters.

In their information release today, the province outlines the background to the consultation and how they will use the public commentary towards any decision.

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.

This current consultation will continue through to September 30, 2021

The civil jury process was suspended in 2020 owing to COVID and the current plan is to resume the civil jury trials in October of 2022.

The civil jury study will have no bearing on the future of the criminal jury process, which resumed across the province in September of last year.

As part of the consultation period on the civil jury program the Province has provided a copy of a recent White Paper on the topic Civil Juries in British Columbia: Anachronism or Cornerstone of the Civil Justice process.

You can review that document here.

The data provided by the report indicates that any burden on residents when it comes to Civil Jury trials in Prince Rupert is rather light, with only two entries listed as part of the review.

To share your thoughts on what should be the future of the civil jury process you are asked to provide your feedback to the Policy and Legislation Division, Justice Services Branch.  

You can provide your contribution to the conversation by email at

More notes on themes from the Legislature can be reviewed from our archive page.

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