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Reassessment of Trial Decisions

The court in R.A.C. v. V.L.C., 2009 BCSC 1417 recently reviewed the law regarding when it can and should reconsider a trial decision.  Under normal circumstances, a trial decision is geared towards ending the parties’ disputes and deciding the issues on a final basis.  There are, however, occasions where the Judge’s trial decision requires reassessment based upon facts which were not available to the parties during the trial.  This can only happen if a court order has not yet been entered.  However, in that event, the court has an unfettered discretion to reconsider its decision but should do so exceedingly sparingly.  Further, the court in R.A.C. acknowledged that the underlying rationale of the court’s discretion is prevent a miscarriage of justice from occurring.A reassessment is a very rare occurrence and all efforts should be made to ensure that the issues and evidence are properly canvassed at trial.

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