Your dedicated team at WTinjury wanted to provide a brief update with respect to how the current COVID-19 situation have continued to impact the Civil Courts to date and how these matters may continue to develop in the days and weeks to come.
We once again want to first reassure you that the health and wellness of our clients and our WTinjury team is our top priority. At present, although our office remains open to an “essential services team, all of our WTinjury team are still working remotely.
Despite all of the recent modifications in the manner in which we serve our clients, WTinjury continues to provide the same quality responsive client service that our clients both deserve and have come to expect. However, we are now providing services to our clients while respecting our duty to follow and respect the various directives from health officials at all levels of government to take appropriate and necessary measures to seek mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community.
In light of the recent and unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 virus has had on all aspects of our everyday lives, we must all expect and prepare for delays and frustration with the progress of our client’s legal claims. As we reported previously on March 18, The Honourable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia took the unprecedented step to close all B.C. Courthouses for the foreseeable future (officially March 19 to May 30, 2020).
On April 27, The Honourable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia announced an expansion of Civil and Family matters (COVID-19 Notice #14) with respect to the earlier suspension of regular Court operations. With the this most recent announcement, effective April 27, until the end of the state of emergency ordered by the Minister of Public Safety and the Solicitor General, a party may now bring an application in relation to a “non urgent” matter by way of written submissions in lieu of a hearing in certain circumstances. Please see more details in the COVID-19 Notice #14 link immediately below:
Although this recent expansion of Court operations is not expected to address the larger issue of addressing the bigger issue of the mounting judicial backlog in relation to trial dates that were lost as a result of the earlier Court mandated trial adjournments of trials that were previously scheduled to proceed in March, April and May (as discussed in our earlier Bulletins), we do nevertheless see this a positive development and believe this recent development may indeed signify a small but significant step towards an eventual return to “regular” Court operations in the weeks and months to come.
Unfortunately, as we previously discussed, these mandatory courtroom closures will further burden a court system that was already significantly strained by ICBC’s adversarial and aggressive litigation strategy that we have all experienced in the last 6-9 months. A link to a recent CBC news article discussing this serious issue was included in our last update.
We also expect that for the next several months many litigation processes such as Examinations for Discovery and Mediations will continue to proceed by videoconference wherever possible. Over the last few months, we have all had to adjust how we operate in light of social distancing requirements. Our experience has been no different in terms of how we deliver quality legal services to our clients. In this regard, we have now had an opportunity to conduct many Examinations for Discovery and Mediations by video conference and can report that our recent experience indicated that these are indeed effective substitutes for their more traditional “in-person” equivalents. We also adjusted by having regular Team “Zoom meetings” to discuss the status of our client’s files and how to continue to effectively move all our client’s files along, despite the current challenges we are all now facing.
As discussed previously and despite the Court closures and social distancing requirements, our WTinjury team members will continue to work on our client’s files with a view to reaching a fair and reasonable settlement of all our client’s files. Please rest assured that despite recent developments, the entire WTinjury team will continue be available to answer any questions or concerns you may have in relation to your claim. The most effective and reliable form of communication for the immediate future is email, but we are available for telephone and even Skype or Zoom video conference meetings as well, if required or preferred.
In the meantime, you can continue to rely on WTinjury and our committed and talented team members and our exceptional track record for innovative and pragmatic high quality legal services and solutions, anchored in decades of proven results for our bodily injury clients.
Stay safe and reach out if you have any questions in the interim.
All the best,
David Wallin and the entire WTinjury Team