1. Structure
  2. Rules
  3. Discovery of Documents
  4. Examination for Discovery
  5. Chambers and Pre-Trial Matters
  6. Default and Summary Judgments
  7. Preparing For Trial
  8. Trial

Lloyd Duhaime, August 8, 2009.


There are three levels of court in British Columbia: in ascending order, the Provincial Court, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court was originally the highest court in the province. In 1909 the Court of Appeal was created and is now the highest court in the province.

From the 2006 Annual Report of the Court:

"The Supreme Court of British Columbia is the Province’s superior trial court.

"It is a court of general and inherent jurisdiction and hears both civil and criminal cases as well as appeals from Provincial Court.

"The Supreme Court is a circuit court in which all the judges and masters travel throughout the province to preside over cases. The Supreme Court sits in eight judicial districts and has resident judges in the following locations: Vancouver, Chilliwack, Cranbrook, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Nelson, New Westminster, Prince George, Prince Rupert and Victoria. The Supreme Court also sits in the following additional locations where there is no resident judge or master: Campbell River, Courtenay, Dawson Creek, Duncan, Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, Golden, Penticton, Port Alberni, Powell River, Quesnel, Revelstoke, Rossland, Salmon Arm, Smithers, Terrace, Vernon and Williams Lake.

"The Supreme Court currently consists of the Chief Justice, Associate Chief Justice, 85 full-time and 17 (part-time) judges. Full-time judges are required to sit 32 weeks a year, with 20 non-sitting weeks.

"New judges are appointed upon the retirement of a full-time judge or when a full-time judge elects supernumerary status. Appointments are made by the (Federal Government) on the recommendation of the Federal Minister of Justice.

"The Supreme Court also has 14 masters. Masters are appointed by the (Provincial Government). Masters preside in civil chambers and registrar hearings and decide on pre-trial motions and procedural orders."


It is court protocol to refer to judges of the Supreme Court (Vancouver Courthouse pictured) as "justices" whereas judges of the Provincial Court are referred to as "judges." Also, when corresponding with Supreme Court justices, the proper prefix is "the Honourable Mr. Bryan Williams." With Provincial Court judges, the protocol is "His Honour Judge Brian Smith."VCR Courthouse

When addressing them in Court, Provincial Court judges are referred to as "Your Honour" but Supreme Court justices, most of them still, insist on being referred to as "My Lord" or "My Lady".

Another important distinction is that Supreme Court justices are appointed by the federal cabinet whereas Provincial Court judges, by the provincial government's Cabinet. Supreme Court justices make considerably more than Provincial Court judges; they are paid by the federal government whereas Provincial Court judges are paid by the government of BC.

The Supreme Court Act governs the structural aspects of the court's powers and jurisdiction.

The Act also provides for "masters" to be appointed. In reality, Masters are a sort of junior justice, tantamount to a "magistrate". They do not hear full criminal or civil trials but they do hear and decide many preliminary matters and interlocutory applications, thus saving the time of the justices for the more "important" hearings.

Masters are required to be members of the Law Society at the time of appointment. The decisions and role of Masters are critical to the proper conduct of just about every civil case as they can decide on many preliminary matters; their decisions impacting the rest of the trial.

Masters are paid the same salary as judges of the Provincial Court.

In my experience, the role and quality of British Columbia masters is as good if not better than what we sometimes see on the Bench, at least in Victoria.

The Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to hear civil cases where the amount is higher than $25,000, under which matters are within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court, Small Claims Division. Certain matters, such as defamation and malicious prosecution, regardless of the amount being claimed, must go to the Supreme Court for adjudication. Litigants are also able to leapfrog over the Provincial Court's Small Claims system and go directly to the Supreme Court for matters of a value less than $25,000. However, they risk the chance that the Supreme Court transfers proceedings to the Small Claims tribunal if one of the parties requests it and the judge "considers it appropriate to do so."

The Supreme Court is identified in the Criminal Code as a "superior court of criminal jurisdiction" which identifies it as the exclusive forum for trials of serious crimes. It is also a court of "inherent jurisdiction" which means, following the principles of English law, that it has jurisdiction to try any matter unless you can find a statute that says otherwise or that gives exclusive jurisdiction to some other court. For example, there is no monetary limit on the Supreme Court as there is for the Provincial Court. The Provincial Court is a creature of statute. It does not have any jurisdiction whatsoever unless you can find a statute that extends it. A corollary of this is that you can commence a Supreme Court action in any Supreme Court registry in the province. There is no rule as there is in Small Claims regarding registration at the registry closest to the residence of the defendant.

Another interesting section of the Supreme Court Act is the section which allows the court to control habitual claimants, the litigants-for-life persons. If asked to do so by any person, the court may order that no legal proceedings, without leave of the court, be instituted by a person who has "habitually, persistently and without reasonable grounds, instituted vexatious legal proceedings."


The most important document for anybody dealing with the Supreme Court is the Supreme Court Rules, a lengthy set of procedural rules governing the proceedings before the court. Many of the more procedural-specific rules will be discussed in the web pages dealing with Discovery or Trial.

Some of the more generic rules of the court are listed below but beware - these Rules are often updated and what follows may not be current!

  • Except where otherwise provided for in the Rules, a writ of summons starts Supreme Court proceedings. It initiates the lawsuit and commands the defendant to answer. Note also that once a writ of summons is issued by the Court, it has a 12-month life only. If it is not served within that time period, you'll need the permission of the Court to revive it.
  • The writ is endorsed by either a statement of claim or a statement of the nature of the claim made in enough detail to allow the defendant to know what he or she is being sued for, and the relief or remedy being asked for. If the Statement of Claim does not accompany the writ, it must be delivered by the plaintiff no later than 21 days after the defendant's appearance. The Statement of Claim must also identify a remedy asked of the court and suggest a place for the trial to take place.
  • If the Rules or a statute allows it, you can also start a case in the Supreme Court using an originating application. An originating application includes both a petition or a praecipe (now called a "requisition").
  • Starting an action by Requisition is rare but is typically used for expeditious, uncontested proceedings, "where the nature of an application or the circumstances of a case are such that notice need not be given" (Subrule 10(2)). A Requisition would be used, for example, to proceed, on an ex parte (without notice) basis, with the registration of a foreign order (Rule 54).
  • A petition is the more common type of originating application and would be the form of choice for foreclosure, estate, trust, property or construction of document cases and, to some lawyers, to be used wherever and whenever possible. Many situations offer a choice of writ of summons or petitions and most lawyers choose a petition because the process is faster and allows for evidence by affidavit. On the other hand, most procedures such as examination for discovery or the discovery of documents are only available if the proceedings began with a writ of summons.
  • Extra-provincial service is allowed but, in some cases, leave of the Court is required.
  • Service is personal. In other words, it is not done by mail but by leaving the defendant with a copy with him or her. Rule 11 provides greater detail for service on companies or upon the government including the use of facsimile service.
  • In order to defend against a writ, a person must advise the court of their intention to do so. This is done by an appearance faxed or delivered to the court and the plaintiff within 7 days of service of the originating process (longer if they reside outside of BC). The Court can make exceptions or excuse delays. In many cases, a lawyer or law firm will enter an appearance on behalf of their client.
  • A special declaration is to be used when, instead of appearing the defendant wishes to challenge service or the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter. This is designed to allow representation without implied attornment to the jurisdiction of the Court.
  • Documents submitted to the Court are to be in English and on 8½ by 11 white paper, either legibly written or type-written (subrule 4(2)) and signed and dated by the submitting party or their lawyer.
  • The rules may be lifted for a specific proceeding if all parties and the justice agree.
  • The court has wide punitive powers if a party fails to comply with the rules "without lawful excuse", including the dismissal of the proceedings or, if the person is the defendant, order the proceeding to continue as if the defendant never made an appearance.

Discovery of Documents

BC Law Courts

In 2007, the Supreme Court made available an extensive set of self-help documents to the public. For how long this will be available is unknown but while it lasts, click here for the link.

The Rules regulate the discovery, before the trial, of documents. A party to an action may demand from any other party discovery of the documents which are, or have been, in their possession or control relating to any matter in question. The other party then has a limited number of days to deliver a list of those documents.

The party who has delivered a list of documents shall allow inspection and copying except those to which production has been objected to. The list must include a notice stating a place where the documents may be inspected and copied. Copies can then and there be made on payment of the cost of reproduction or delivery.

The court, at any time, on the application of a party, may require any other party to deliver an affidavit stating whether a certain document has been in the other party's possession or control and, if not in that party's possession or control, when the party parted with it and what has become of it.

Where a claim for some type of privilege is made which would shield the document from being given to the other party, the claim must be made in the list with a statement of the grounds of the privilege. The court may inspect the document for the purpose of deciding the validity of the objection.

Where a document is in the possession or control of a person who is not a party, the court, on notice to the person and all other parties, may order production and inspection of the document or preparation of a certified copy that may be used instead of the original.

Where, after a list of documents has been delivered, it comes to the attention of the party delivering it that the list was inaccurate or incomplete, or an important document comes into the party's control after the delivery of the list, the party must immediately deliver a supplementary list specifying the inaccuracy or the document. Except with special permission of the court, where a party fails to make discovery of, or produce for inspection or copying, a document, the party may not put the document in evidence in the proceeding or use it for the purpose of examination or cross-examination.

Note also that a person summoned to appear for an examination for discovery must produce for inspection on the examination all documents in his or her possession or power, not privileged, relating to the matters in question in the action.

Interrogatories is a related procedure in which a series of questions is submitted to the opposing party. The opposing party has a limited number of days to provide answers. Interrogatories are useful in complicated cases or where the expense of an examination for discovery would be high.

Examination For Discovery

In British Columbia (and Alberta), an examination for discovery is described as "an oral examination on oath".

Other provinces, such as Ontario, allow a litigant to instead submit a list of questions which must be answered.

A party to an action may examine for discovery any party "adverse in interest" (eg. the other party). Generally, examination for discovery may take place without leave of the court at any time up to a certain number of days before the scheduled trial date.

Unless the court otherwise orders, or the parties to the examination consent, the examination takes place at the registry nearest to the place where the person to be examined resides (in almost all cases, by "consent", the examination takes place in the board room of a local Court reporter).

The examination is conducted before an official reporter, who is empowered to administer the oath.

The party entitled to examine fixes the time for the examination with an official reporter. The person to be examined must attend and submit to examination if served personally with a notice of appointment.

Where a corporation is a party, it must offer a corporate officer knowledgeable concerning the matters in question in the action. Where a partnership is a party, one or more of the partners may be examined for discovery.

Other people who can be examined for discovery include:

  • A person for whose immediate benefit an action is brought or defended;
  • Where an infant is a party, the infant, his or her guardian and his or her guardian ad litem;
  • Where a mentally incompetent person is a party, his or her guardian ad litem and his or her committee. The mentally incompetent person may not be examined without leave of the court;
  • Where a trustee in bankruptcy is a party, the bankrupt.

Under the Rules, the penalty for refusing or neglecting to attend at the time and place appointed for examination are heavy and can lead to dismissal of the action if it is the plaintiff, or the denial of a defence if it is the defendant, or contempt of court (including jail!).

An examination for discovery by a plaintiff may take place after the expiration of time for delivery of the statement of defence of the party to be examined, and an examination by a defendant may take place at any time after the defendant has delivered a statement of defence. The examination is conducted as a cross-examination. The person examined may be re-examined on his or her own behalf or on behalf of a party not adverse in interest to them in relation to any matter respecting which he or she has been examined. After the re-examination he or she may be further examined by the examining party.

Unless the court otherwise orders, a person being examined shall answer any question within his or her knowledge regarding any matter, not privileged, relating to a matter in question, and is compellable to give the names and addresses of all persons who might be expected to have similar knowledge. A person being examined may be required to inform himself or herself and the examination may be adjourned for that purpose. A person being examined may also object to a question. If this happens, the question and the objection is taken down by the official reporter and the validity of the objection may be submitted to the Court, which may order the person to submit to further examination.

Because they follow the form of a cross-examination, leading questions can be asked. A party's lawyer is not expected to play an important role at the examination for discovery and usually remains silent except to object to questions. The entire proceeding is on-the-record unless both counsel agree to go off-the-record. A lawyer is allowed to re-examine his or her client after their examination for discovery but this is considered poor strategy.

An examination for discovery is conducted in question and answer form. Copies of the transcript may be obtained on payment of the proper fee by any party of record, the person examined or by any other person as the court for special reason may permit.

If otherwise admissible, the transcript may be read into the Court record, unless the court otherwise orders, but the evidence is admissible only against the adverse party who was examined, or whose status as a party entitled the examining party to conduct the examination. Where the person examined was, at the time of the examination, a former director, officer, employee, agent or external auditor of a party, any part of his or her evidence may be given at trial if notice has been delivered to all parties at least a certain number of days before trial specifying that part of the evidence intended to be given at trial.

Any party may require the attendance at trial of a person whose evidence taken on examination is intended to be read into the record at trial and if the evidence is given, all parties may cross-examine that person. Where part of an examination for discovery is given in evidence, the court may review the whole of that examination and if, following the review, it considers that another part of the examination is closely connected with the part given in evidence, it may direct that the other part be put in as evidence.

© Copyright Lloyd Duhaime, 1997-2007.

Chambers and Pre-trial Matters

At this point in time, the primary documents have been filed in court and received by opposing parties. Several procedures are available to assist a party to fully prepare for trial:

  • Particulars: Full details (particulars), with dates and items if applicable, are expected to be in the pleading. If the particulars of debt, expenses or damages are lengthy, the party may refer to this fact and instead of pleading the particulars can deliver them in a separate document either before or with the pleading. Before applying to the court for particulars, a party is expected to demand them in writing from the other party.A demand for particulars is helpful in avoiding any surprises at trial. Case law exists which says that the whole purpose of a demand for particulars is to allow a party to prepare their case or to prepare for an examination for discovery. A party cannot decline to provide particulars just because the information may subsequently be revealed in examination for discovery.
  • Admissions: The Rules cover a very effective tool known as "admissions". Generally, a party may, not less than a certain deadline before the trial, request that the other: "admit those facts set out in the notice and the authenticity of those documents referred to in the notice, that the party delivering the notice considers are not in dispute." If the other party does not deny these facts within a limited time period, the Court may bind all parties to those facts.

The Rules say that all interlocutory applications are heard in Chambers. Chambers is a Court and so is a public forum. They are usually short (less then two hours), sometimes technical hearings and do not require oral testimony. Both lawyers present their arguments to the judge. The judge sitting in Chambers usually has a long list of interlocutory applications to be heard that day so the parties or their lawyers are expected to be well prepared and be brief. Masters (described in Part 1) frequently preside over Chambers and have authority to "hear all interlocutory applications under the Rules of the Court."

Default and Summary Judgments

If the defendant fails to file an appearance, either personally or by lawyer, the plaintiff may proceed and ask the court to issue a default judgment. Correspondingly, if the plaintiff fails to deliver a statement of claim within the prescribed time, the defendant would ask the Court to dismiss the action. They are powerful tools which should be used wherever possible. But even a default judgment can be reversed if the defendant acts promptly upon hearing of the default judgment, if there is a good reason for the omission which led to the default judgment, and if there is a "meritorious defence."

Summary judgment: either party may apply to the Court suggesting that the other's claim is without foundation and swearing, on an affidavit, that they can think of no fact that might form a basis of the claim or a defence to the claim, as the case might be, except for the amount. The Court has wide powers when deciding upon such applications. It may, with the consent of all parties, dispose of the action with or without pleadings, or "grant any other order it thinks just." But in real life, if the other party counter-files an affidavit contesting the application for summary judgment, the Court usually declines the request and allows the matter to proceed to trial.

There is also a summary trial procedure (known as "Rule 18A") where, once a defense has been filed, a party may ask the Court to summarily decide the entire action or a specific issue: force trial by affidavit. For these hearings, when allowed by the judge (a Master cannot hear any trials, including those "summary"), evidence is documentary: affidavit or the transcript from an examination for discovery. Because of this, the Court will expect the affidavits to be fully forthcoming. The rule against hearsay will apply and the procedure cannot be used as a tactic to deprive a party of the right to a full trial. On the hearing of the application, the court may grant judgment either upon an issue or generally, unless the Court is unable, on the whole of the evidence before it, to find the facts necessary to decide the issues, or the Court is of the opinion that it would be unjust to decide the issues on the application.

The Rules also allow for a party to move for judgment based on admissions by the other party in some court document such as the pleadings or examination for discovery. If the parties agree with the facts and want merely to submit a clear question of law to the judge, and they can agree to the wording of the question, the Rules provides for this and calls it a "special case."

Preparing For Trial

An oddity in Canada, civil jury trials are still possible in BC. But the Court may also deny a trial by jury where (except in cases of defamation, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution) the issues require prolonged examination of documents or accounts or a scientific or local investigation which cannot be made conveniently with a jury, or if the issues are of an intricate or complex character.

In general (look at the Rules for specifics), no jury trial may be elected where it relates to estates, partnerships, land or mortgages, trusts, construction of contracts, custody of children, the applicant is the only person who is interested in the relief claimed, or there is no person against whom relief is sought or determination of a claim of solicitor and client privilege.

A party, having delivered or received a notice of trial, may request the holding of a pre-trial conference. If approved by a judge or master, a pre-trial conference shall be attended by the solicitors for the parties, or the parties themselves, and shall consider the simplification of the issues, the necessity or desirability of amendments to pleadings, the possibility of obtaining admissions which might facilitate the trial, the quantum of damages, fixing a date for the trial, and any other matters that may aid in the disposition of the action or the attainment of justice.

There are quite a few things a judge or master can do at a pre-trial conference, including (but not limited to) ordering that:

  • the trial, or part of it, be heard by the court without a jury (if it meets the criteria mentioned above),
  • that pleadings be amended or closed within a fixed time,
  • a party file and deliver, within a fixed time, to each other party as specified by the judge, a list of documents or an affidavit verifying a list of documents in accordance with the directions that the judge or master may give,
  • interlocutory applications be brought within a fixed time or by a specified date,
  • a statement of agreed facts be filed within a fixed time or by a specified date,
  • all procedures for discovery be conducted in accordance with a schedule and plan that the court directs, and the plan may set limitations on those discovery procedures,
  • a party deliver a written summary of the proposed evidence of a witness within a fixed time or by a specified date,
  • the parties attend a mini-trial or a settlement conference,
  • experts who have been retained by the parties confer, on a without prejudice basis, to determine those matters on which they agree and to identify those matters on which they do not agree.

Where the judge or master orders or directs that the parties attend a mini-trial, the parties shall attend before a judge or master who shall, in camera and without hearing witnesses, give a non-binding opinion on the probable outcome of a trial of the proceeding.

Where the judge or master orders or directs that the parties attend a settlement conference, the parties shall attend before a judge or master who shall, in camera and without hearing witnesses, explore all possibilities of settlement of the issues that are outstanding.

A judge who presides at a pre-trial conference is not seized of the action, and a trial of the action may be heard by that judge or by any other judge. But a judge who has heard a mini-trial or who has attended at a settlement conference shall not preside at the trial, unless all parties of record consent.


A notice of trial starts the clock ticking and may be delivered by a plaintiff after the time has expired for the delivery of a statement of defence or by any party after the close of pleadings.

The person filing the notice of trial must also then file a trial record which contains copies of the pleadings, and particulars which may have been required of the pleadings, a property and financial statement if the action is for support brought under the Divorce Act, and any order made governing the conduct of the trial.

A party may obtain a trial date from the registry where the trial is to be held. The place of trial shall be the place named in the statement of claim, but the court may order that the place of trial be changed or that the trial be heard partly in one place and partly in another.

The pre-trial bureaucracy comes to an end with the trial certificate, filed by each party within a strict deadline before the trial date and copied to each other. The certificate contains a statement that the party filing it will be ready to proceed on the scheduled trial date, an estimate of the length of the trial and a statement certifying that the party has delivered a notice to admit facts, and completed all examinations for discovery.

If no party is in attendance when the trial of an action is called, the action is struck from the trial list. If a party is not in attendance when the trial of an action is called, the court may proceed with the trial, including hearing a counterclaim, in the absence of that party.

The court may invite an assessor to hear the trial and the assessor's remuneration forms part of the costs of the action. The court may also order that one or more questions of fact or law arising in an action be tried and determined before the others. Upon that determination, a party may move for judgment. The court, if satisfied that the determination is conclusive of all or some of the issues between the parties, may grant judgment.

A party may prepare a subpoena and serve it on any person. A subpoena need not be filed in or bear the seal of the court. A person served with a subpoena is entitled to tender of the proper fees at the time of service. Upon proof of the service of a subpoena on a witness who fails to attend or to remain in attendance in accordance with the requirements of the subpoena, that proper witness fees have been tendered and that the presence of that witness is material to the ends of justice, the court, by warrant, may cause that witness to be arrested and brought before the court. The penalty for ignoring a subpoena can be substantial (see Rule 2(5)).

A witness at a trial testifies in open court. This is the most common method of getting evidence into the Court record.

Where a witness is dead, or is unable to attend and testify because of age, infirmity, sickness or imprisonment or is out of the jurisdiction or his or her attendance cannot be secured by subpoena, the court may permit a existing transcript of any evidence of that witness taken under oath, whether or not involving the same parties, to be put in as evidence, but reasonable notice shall be given of the intention to give that evidence.

Previous depositions may be used instead of having a person actually testify at trial. By consent of the parties or by order of the court, a person is then examined on oath before or during trial, before an official reporter (videos are often used), or any other person the court may direct, in order that the deposition be available to be tendered as evidence at the trial. In exercising its discretion to authorize a deposition, the court considers the convenience of the person sought to be examined, the possibility that the person may be unavailable to testify at the trial by reason of death, infirmity, sickness or absence, the possibility that the person will be beyond the jurisdiction of the court at the time of the trial, and the expense of bringing the person to the trial.

The evidence of a witness may be given by affidavit if a copy of the affidavit is furnished to every party of record by the party tendering the affidavit at least 30 days before the affidavit is given in evidence. The deponent of an affidavit may only state what he or she would be permitted to state were the evidence to be given orally in court. Where an affidavit is furnished less than 30 days before it is given in evidence, the court may, on the application of a party or on the court's own motion, order that the affidavit is admissible. Any party to the proceeding may, unless the court otherwise orders, require the witness to be called for cross-examination, provided that 14 days' notice is given to the party tendering the affidavit before it is given in evidence.

At least two days before a trial, a party may require any other party to bring to the trial any document in the other party's possession or power relating to the matters in question. The same can be done with physical objects in the other party's possession or power which the party contemplates tendering at the trial as an exhibit except that, in this case, the notice must identify the object.

With plans or photographs, the rules are a bit different. Unless the court otherwise orders or the parties agree, no plan, photograph or object shall be received in evidence at the trial of an action unless, at least 7 days before the commencement of the trial, the parties have been given an opportunity to inspect it. To keep track of things brought into the evidence, a Court clerk takes each document or object put in as an exhibit, and marks or labels each with a number, keeping a list giving a short description and stating by whom it was tendered. Exhibits do not remain in the custody of the Court forever. After the time for appeal from judgment has expired or after the disposition of an appeal, new trial or further appeal, whichever is latest, the registry may return an exhibit to the party who tendered it. The parties may agree or the court may order that an exhibit be returned at an earlier time or to a person other than the party who tendered it. They can be destroyed if not claimed within a year of the expiry of the appeal period.

At the close of the plaintiff's case, the defendant may apply to have the action dismissed on the ground that there is no evidence to support the plaintiff's case, even before electing whether or not to call evidence. Alternatively, and after the defendant has elected not to call evidence (or with the permission of the Court), he or she may ask the Court to dismiss the action on the ground that the evidence is insufficient to make out the plaintiff's case.

You can call the opposing ("adverse") party as witness. It can be done by subpoena or give the person or his or her solicitor at least 7 days' notice of the intention to call him or her as a witness, tendering at the same time the proper fees. A party may call as a witness a person, without payment of fees or previous notice, if the person is in attendance at the trial. If an adverse person refuses or neglects to attend at the trial or to remain in attendance at the trial or refuses to be sworn or to affirm or to answer a proper question put to him or her or to produce a document which he or she is required to produce, the court may pronounce judgment in favour of the party calling that witness or may adjourn the trial.

An adverse interest witness is known as "hostile." Cross-examination of the witness by counsel for the adverse party shall be confined to explanation of matters brought out in the examination-in-chief. Cross-examination of the witness by other parties may be general or limited, as the court may direct. Re-examination shall be confined to new matters brought out in cross-examination. Where a witness appears unwilling or unable to give responsive answers or is hostile, the court may permit the party calling the witness to examine the witness by means of leading questions.

Evidence given in examination for discovery can be used at trial, subject to some qualifications described in the Rules. The hearsay rule does not apply to examinations for discovery so caution must be used when reading, at trial, the transcript of a examination for discovery.