Civil Litigation Basics 2018

Course Date: February 22, 2018

Total: 11h 5min

Day 1: Thursday, February 22, 2018

Welcome and Introduction

File Opening

A.   Dealing with Your Client 

  • matter selection and rejection — the most important step of any file
  • cementing the relationship and creating achievable expectations
  • fee arrangements that work for you and the client

Art Vertlieb, QC — Vertlieb & Co., Vancouver

B.   Creating and Managing a Litigation File 

  • preliminary review and opinion
  • accepting instructions and educating the client
  • preparing an effective and useful chronology
  • smoking out your opponent's case
  • crafting a winning theory of the case and brief of law
  • assembling an efficient and winning team—everyone has a place in the sun
  • managing good and bad news

Art Vertlieb, QC — Vertlieb & Co., Vancouver

Drafting Pleadings and Affidavits

A.   Pleadings 

  • overview of pleadings
  • do's and don'ts of pleadings
  • matters which must be specifically plead

Wendy A. Baker, QC — Miller Thomson LLP, Vancouver

B.   Affidavits 

  • when to use an affidavit
  • basic substantive and procedural requirements
  • the do's and don'ts of affidavit drafting

John Douglas Shields — Shields Harney, Vancouver


Chambers Applications 

  • materials
  • presentations
  • authorities
  • short form and special leave applications
  • the do's and don'ts of chambers practice

Master Shelagh Scarth — Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver 


A.   Discovery and e-Discovery 

  • discovery of documents
  • document production and the scope of production under Rule 7-1
  • importance of the pleadings in document production
  • practical steps and procedures for preparing lists and organizing documents

Graham J. Underwood — Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Attorney General, Victoria

B.   Examination for Discovery

  • preparing your client for discovery
  • preparing to examine the opposing side
  • effective techniques on examination for discovery
  • objections on discovery
  • concluding and adjourning the discovery

Lyle G. Harris, QC — Harris & Brun Law Corporation, Vancouver 

Lunch (on your own)


  • mediation strategy and advocacy
  • drafting mediation briefs
  • preparing your client for mediation

Mark L. Tweedy — Mark Tweedy Mediation+Arbitration, Vancouver


  • how to recognize and protect documents protected by solicitor-client privilege and solicitor-brief privilege
  • how to make or defend an application for disclosure of documents for which privilege have been claimed

Mark G. Underhill — Arvay Finlay LLP, Vancouver


Professionalism and Practice Management 

A.   Dealing with Self-Represented Litigants 

  • issues unique to self-represented litigants
  • practical practice tips

Andrew P. Morrison — Shields Harney, Vancouver

B.   Under the Covers

  • claims and activities that the LSBC insurance program compulsory policy covers
  • risks the compulsory policy doesn't cover, such as trust shortages caused by fraudsters and thieves
  • commercial liability insurance products that help protect you from those risks

Coran Cooper-Stephenson — Claims Counsel, Lawyers Insurance Fund, Vancouver
Maryanne Prohl Claims Counsel, Lawyers Insurance Fund, Vancouver

C.   Code of Professional Conduct 

  • duties to your client
    • duty of confidence
    • duty of loyalty
  • duties to state and court
    • not to mislead (evidence and authorities)
    • preparation of affidavits
    • expert's reports
  • duties to other lawyers
    • default proceedings
    • adjournment requests
    • communicating with the court
    • undertakings

Lisa Martz — Gudmundseth Mickelson LLP, Vancouver 

Day 2: Friday, February 23, 2018

Preparing For and Conducting Trial

A.   Organizing Your Evidence (Including Documents) 

  • knowing your case, investigate, fact finding, chronology, and theory of the case
  • relevance
  • admissibility 
  • persuasiveness
  • order of witnesses
  • discovery evidence
  • books of documents
  • document agreements

Shannon Ramsay — Hunter Litigation Chambers, Vancouver

Preparing for Direct and Cross Examination

   Direct Examination

  • preparation: what evidence can this witness give that will help my case
  • documentary review
  • interview
  • minutes of evidence
  • preparing the witness to give evidence, the process, documents, and exhibits
  • conducting direct examination; keep it simple
  • checklists

   Cross Examination 

  • is a cross-examination necessary?
  • what can you get from the witness that will help your case?
  • what evidence has the witness given that you want or need to challenge?
  • exposing liars vs. blunting the sword
  • courtesy
  • the rule in Brown. v. Dunn

Luciana P. Brasil — Branch MacMaster LLP, Vancouver 


Opening and Argument 

  • the purposes of opening and closing statements
  • the elements of an effective opening statement
  • the elements of an effective closing submission
  • what not to do and pitfalls to avoid

Kevin D. Loo — Nathanson, Schachter & Thompson LLP, Vancouver

Obtaining and Using Admissions (Including Discovery Evidence) 

  • the notice to admit 
  • reading in discovery evidence
  • documentary proof — The Evidence Act
  • using discovery evidence in cross examination

Christopher E. Hirst — Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, Vancouver

Finding and Instructing Expert Witnesses 

  • how to find an expert witness
  • ethical issues concerning preparation of reports and production of an expert's file
  • maximing the utility of your experts
  • cross examination of experts

Howard A. Mickelson, QC — Gudmundseth Mickelson LLP, Vancouver

Lunch (provided)

Litigation Practice: The View From the Bench 

The Honourable Mr. Justice G. Bruce Butler — Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver

Trial and Case Management: Rules and Strategies 

  • what is trial and case management
  • the role of the judge
  • the role of counsel
  • making trial and case management work for you

Hunter Parsons — Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Vancouver

Summary Trials 

  • what type of case is appropriate for a summary trial
  • organizing the evidence
  • tactical considerations

Leslie J. Mackoff — Mackoff Mohamed, Vancouver

Wrapping It Up 

  • preparing orders, judgements, and costs
  • releases and covenants not to sue
  • releasing only some of a group of defendants
  • settlement documentation and procedure
  • the Health Care Costs Recovery Act
  • revisiting matters with the trial judge
  • The Public and Guardian and Trustee and infant settlements
  • enforcement of judgments
  • conducting an examination in aid of execution

David W. Pilley — Harper Grey LLP, Vancouver

Advocacy Practice Panel

The Honourable Mr. Justice G. Bruce Butler — Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver 
Howard A. Mickelson, QC Gudmundseth Mickelson LLP, Vancouver
K. Michael Stephens Hunter Litigation Chambers, Vancouver

Concluding Remarks