History and Structure of PLUG A. Preamble: Paralegal Litigation Users Group (PLUG)
The Justice Review Task Force was established on the initiative of the Law Society of British Columbia in March 2002. The objective of the Task Force was to identify a wide range of reform ideas and initiatives that would help make the justice system more responsive, accessible and cost-effective.
One of the recommendations in the Report of the Civil Justice Reform Working Group was to create new Supreme Court Rules. In July 2007, the Civil Rules Drafting Group prepared a Concept Draft of the proposed new Rules. The draft has gone through extensive revisions based on a consultation and submission process.
The proposed Rules, if passed, mark a significant change to civil litigation in British Columbia, which, in turn, will greatly impact paralegals’ areas of responsibility. Paralegals are often relied on in their firms for knowledge and answers about the Rules and related procedures. As professionals, paralegals must be prepared for the changes that the new Rules will bring and the adjustments that will be required with respect to file management.
An independent province-wide paralegal users group has been created to review the proposed Rules of Court. The goal of the users group, which is being initiated and sponsored by the Canadian Paralegal Institute, is to familiarize themselves with the proposed Rules and to examine and comment on them from a procedural perspective.
This body will be composed of senior paralegals who have voluntarily agreed to act as a resource group to the British Columbia paralegal community.
The Paralegal Litigation Users Group (PLUG) will be geographically balanced with province wide representation of paralegals from cross-disciplinary practice areas.
By undertaking this now, rather than after the Rules come into force, the users group will be in an advantageous position to share information with the paralegal community about the new Rules and their proper interpretation and implementation, aiding in the acceptance of and transition to the new Rules.
The end result will be a core group of interested paralegals who can provide leadership to support staff in British Columbia with respect to transitioning to the new Rules of Court.
The proposed Rules are subdivided into key procedural areas. Please refer to Appendix A. PLUG will be organized into similarly corresponding sub-committees to consider the proposed Rules of Court from a procedural point of view.
To ensure a thorough and balanced examination, where possible, each sub-committee will be focus on a specific practice area (ie. family law), or procedural area (ie. chambers applications), and will be studied by paralegals from both sides of the bar.
A separate study of the Rules will be made from the perspective of selected practice areas. Please refer to Appendix B.
Each subcommittee will have a chairperson and a deputy chairperson. Each subcommittee will also have a secretary.
Subcommittees will meet monthly (either in person or by phone/Skype/ichat). These meetings should take place before the monthly PLUG meeting where each sub-committee will present their progress and observations to the PLUG for discussion.
Each subcommittee chair must submit a monthly status memo to the PLUG chairperson by email, advising of their progress and/or noting what difficulties they have encountered, request needed input or access to further resources.
Initially, there will be 7 procedural subcommittees:
(These grouping are subject to change as needed)
- Pre-Trial Resolution Proceedings
- Trial and Other Proceedings
- Orders and Post-Trial Matters
D.1.1 Membership: Subcommittee
The secretaries will be responsible for managing and maintaining the minutes and reports of their respective subcommittees, as well as coordinating information updates that will appear on the CPI website.
D.1.2 Membership: Secretariat
Membership will be by invitation or by an expression of interest. To qualify, you must have at least 10 cumulative years of relevant experience (excluding absences from the work force).
D.1.3 Membership: Applications
D.1.4 Membership: Required Information
Membership will be by invitation. To qualify, you may have more than 5 years and less than 10 aggregate years experience (excluding absences from the work force).
D.2 Administrative Matters
- Phone (Work/Home/Cell)
- E-mail (Work/Home)
- Practice area
- Three procedural areas of interest by preference (see Appendix A)
- Picture (to be posted on the CPI website as part of membership
E. The Report
PLUG (as a whole) will meet on the third Thursday of every month from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at locations to be determined. The subcommittee chair (or their designate) will present their report and be available for discussion and questions from the attendees.
The first meeting is Thursday, January 15, 2009.
Any member of the PLUG subcommittees and the secretariat may attend.
Appendix A: PLUG Subcommittee Assignments
Interim sub-committee reports which will provide the basis of a report to be presented at the Annual Paralegal Conference on October 2, 2009 and then submitted to the Rules Revision Committee, the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, the Law Society and the Dispute Resolution Office.
The final report will be also submitted by the Spring of 2010 to the same bodies.
Every member of the users group will be a signatory.
The report will have two parts:
Part A will categorize the Rules or procedures into three categories. Those that are:
Part B will assess application of the proposed Rules to specific practice areas (see Appendix B).
- clear and understandable;
- ambiguous, which will be accompanied by proposed solutions and suggestions or solutions where possible; and
Further, the report will also:
- Comment on new terminology, new names for existing documents, new documents.
- Contrast and compare them to the existing Rules and procedures.
- Create a concordance, where applicable.
- Review new time calculations and new time allotments for procedures.
Appendix B. PLUG Subcommittee Practice Areas (Draft)
1. Pleadings Subcommittee
2. Pre-Trial Resolutions Procedures Subcommittee
|Case Plan Orders
|Pre-Trial Resolution Procedures
3. Discovery Subcommittee
|Procedures for Ascertaining Facts
|Special Rules for Certain Proceedings
4. Applications Subcommittee
5. Experts Subcommittee
|Special Rules for Certain Proceedings
6. Trial and Other Court Proceedings
|Property and Injunctions
|Other Court Proceedings
|Judgments From Others Courts
7. Orders and Post-Trial Matters Subcommittee
|Court and Registry
Online Resources for PLUG Members
- Personal Injury
- General Litigation (including leaky condos, wrongful dismissal, wills and estates)
- Family Law
- Corporate Commercial
As appropriate for their role or subcommittee, each PLUG member will have access to the following private resources on this website:
Each PLUG member will have access to the appropriate documents being edited by their subcommittee via the use of the GoogleDocs service.
- The PLUG members page
- A Calendar for PLUG meetings and milestones
- A discussion forum for PLUG members and chairs to share updates and announcements
- A resource page for each subcommittee
- A discussion forum for each subcommittee to share recommendations and updates
- A resource page for the secretariat
- A discussion forum for the secretariat to share recommendations and updates
For instructions on how to apply for and access these resources, please visit http://www.canadianparalegalinstitute.com/NewPlugMember-SetUp