Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia

Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia

May 05, 2009 12:52 ET

BC Government v. BC Citizens

Voters Get to Pass Judgment on BC Government Plans Set to Increase Costs and Add Delay in Civil Justice System

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor VANCOUVER/BRITISH COLUMBIA/NEWS RELEASE--(Marketwire - May 5, 2009) - If re-elected, Gordon Campbell's government plans on pushing through proposals for civil court rule changes that will reduce the ability of innocent citizens - people harmed through wrongs done by others - to have their day in court. The result will be increased court costs and added delays, making access to justice more difficult, more costly and more time-consuming.

"Making access to justice cost more and take longer is a bad idea. The government's proposed rule changes will deny people access to courts and erode the rights of individuals," stated Robert Holmes, president of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC (TLABC). "We call on the government, yet again, to back off these ill-considered proposals and to protect access to justice for all."

Holmes explained: "Unless something is done quickly to stop them, these proposals will come before cabinet for approval right after the election. They are being worked on in secret by those who support the interests and agenda of large institutions - including governments, corporations and insurance companies - all at the expense of ordinary citizens."

The people should have their say. Two separate polls conducted within the past 10 months (July 2008 and Feb. 2009) confirmed that a significant majority of people want the provincial government to carry out public consultation before any substantial rule changes are made, yet the government has not allowed that to happen.

In addition to members of the legal community, the Consumers' Association of Canada (CAC), since last September, has been voicing serious concern about the proposed rule changes, due to the adverse impact the new rules would have on ordinary citizens. "Having the means to sue for compensation is already difficult for many individuals," said CAC president Bruce Cran. "Therefore, it is ordinary people, everyday consumers, who can least afford to lose their ability to access the courts. And they certainly cannot afford to pay more and wait longer for justice to be obtained."

CAC and TLABC speak and advocate for consumers and individuals. Due to shared concerns, these organizations have continued to raise awareness about the negative impacts of the proposed rule changes. The primary concern has always been that the proposals would lead to a two-tiered system of justice, where ordinary people would be at a huge disadvantage to big, powerful parties and institutions.
/For further information: TLABC CONTACT: Bentley Doyle, 604-682-5343 /1 888-558-5222
CAC CONTACT: Bruce Cran, 604-418-8359 (BC-based national spokesperson) IN: ECONOMY, FINANCE, JUSTICE, POLITICS, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Bentley Doyle, Director of Communications, Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia
    Primary Phone: 604-682-5343 ext. 302
    Toll-Free: 888-558-5222