Effective July 3, 2013, the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, the Honorable Thomas J. Crabtree, issued his first Practice Direction of 2013, creating new Domestic Violence dockets at the court registries in Kamloops, Kelowna and Penticton. The reason for the creation of such court dockets is to improve the case management of domestic violence matters in the Provincial Court.
The Practice Direction aims to improve case management by:
- emphasizing the need for compliance with the Court’s practice of setting domestic violence trials within 60 days of arraignment;
- recognizing the possibility of multiple interim bail variation applications and charges alleging breach of bail conditions;
- adressing the high level of trial uncertainty in matters alleging domestic violence; and
- providing increased certainty to family relationship circumstances before the Court.
The Practice Direction requires that the docket be scheduled as follows:
- The Regional Administrative Judge will determine the dates on which the docket will be held;
- the trial list will be limited to eight files per docket, or as otherwise set by the Court;
- the docket will be limited to cases involving intimate partner relationships;
- the initial trial date will be fixed to occur not more not more than 60 days from the Arraignment;
- only one Crown witness will be required for the initial day of trial;
- continuations will be set within 30 days of the intial trial date; and
- no dates will be scheduled for matters on the docket apart from the initial trial date and the continuation dates, unless ordered by the Regional Administrative Judge.
Counsel are expected to reasonably arrange their calendars to facilitate implementation of the Direction. The Direction endures until further direction of the Chief Judge.