Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Multi-tracking Definition:

The triage of cases by a court to a process (track) based on predefined criteria, usually based on value and complexity

Related Terms: Proportionality

A Canadian 2006 report on civil procedure reform, described multi-tracking at that time as follows and with reference to the experimentation then going on the United Kingdom:

"In addition to adopting the guiding, overarching principle of proportionality, many common law jurisdictions around the world, including Canada, have implemented some form of multi-tracking, which involves assigning a case to the appropriate process pathway (track) based on predefined criteria.

"Usually, expedited or simplified rules are used for cases of lower values.

One example of multi-tracking is from the UK’s system, which streams cases as follows:

  • Cases where the amount in controversy is less than 5,000 GBP (≅ $10,000 Canadian) are small claims. These cases are given a very informal, quick trial, with no formal rules of evidence. Experts may not testify or submit reports without court permission. The parties may agree to have the claim decided on the basis of written materials only.
  • Cases where the amount in controversy is less than 15,000 GBP (≅ $30,000 Canadian) are fast-track cases. These cases are allowed an expedited process, which includes fixed costs, the use of a single joint expert, unless there is a good reason not to do, no oral expert evidence, unless the court determines it is in the interests of justice to do so, limited discovery, a fixed (or within a fixed three-week period) trial date within 30 weeks, and potential limits on oral evidence and cross-examinations.
  • "Cases involving more than 15,000 GBP are put on the multi-track (and then) case-managed by procedural judges working in teams with other judges."1

It is suggested that the emergence of multi-tracking is evident in the imitation of, for example, small claims regimes and even:

"... clearly demonstrates a movement toward the implementation of proportionality principles."

REFERENCES:

 

  • Duhaime, Lloyd, A Brief History of the Rules of Court
  • NOTE 1: British Columbia Justice Review Task Force, Report of the Civil Justice Reform Working Group, November 2006, Appendix B, "Proportionality", page 57

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