In Donaldson v. Dorworth, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident, and subsequently commenced legal proceedings. As is often the case, ICBC’S lawyer filed a jury trial notice, requiring the trial to be heard by judge and jury.
In the context of ICBC claims, a jury trial is a presumptive right of the Defendant. If a Plaintiff does not want a jury trial, he or she has the onus of establishing that the case falls within one of the following criteria, as outlined in Rule 12-6(5)(a) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules :
(i) the issues require prolonged examination of documents or accounts or a scientific or local investigation that cannot be made conveniently with a jury,
(ii) the issues are of an intricate or complex character, or
(iii) the extra time and cost involved in requiring that the trial be heard by the court with a jury would be disproportionate to the amount involved in the action . . .
It is important to note the use of the word “or”, meaning that all three criteria do not have to be shown to succeed on an application to strike a jury trial notice, but rather either one of the three.
In the case at bar, counsel for the Plaintiff argued that the first two of these criteria were applicable. ICBC’S lawyer argued that neither were applicable, and that the application to strike a jury notice was brought too late anyways. Authorities on this issue show, however, that the seven day deadline is not absolute.
With respect to the issue of prolonged examination of documents, the Court noted the existence of a large amount of medical documentation, including numerous expert reports and clinical records, and ruled that there would be such a prolonged examination. The Court also found, given the competing and conflicting expert reports, that the issues would require a scientific investigation within the meaning of Rule 12-6(5)(a)(i).
However, the Court would eventually rule that the examination of documents and scientific investigation could be made conveniently with a jury, finding that there would be no impediment to the jury being able to understand the evidence, and retaining that understanding through to the end of the trial.
In regards to Rule 12-6(5)(a)(ii), the Court noted the plethora of issues of law that the jury would need to be instructed on, such as causation, contributory negligence, the standard of care in negligence, and the law regarding each head of damage that was being claimed by the Plaintiff. With respect to issues of fact, there would be the expert’s opinions, and the facts and assumptions upon which they were based. The Court opined that the inter-relationship between such issues of law and fact, particularly in relation to the issue of causation, made the case at bar more complicated than most personal injury maters. Despite this, however, the Court would rule that the character of the issues did not rise to the level of being complex or intricate within the meaning of Rule 12-6(5)(a)(ii).
The Court would go on to dismiss the Plaintiff’s application to strike the jury notice, awarding costs to the Defendant in any event of the cause.
 In my opinion, chambers judges and masters are well able to decide whether or not a case is appropriate for trial by jury without the assistance of expert opinion. We can form our own conclusions without expert assistance; expert evidence is unnecessary, and therefore inadmissible: R. v. Mohan, 1994 CanLII 80 (SCC),  2 S.C.R. 9 at 23. Had I admitted Dr. Ancill’s report, it would not have altered the result of this application: I have read the expert opinion reports and I disagree with Dr. Ancill’s conclusion that the subject of conversion disorders is one that is too difficult for a jury to grapple with.
 Although this is a close case, I conclude that the character of the issues in this case, considered individually or in combination with one another, do not rise to the level of being complex or intricate within the meaning of the rule.
 Having found as fact that the issues require a prolonged examination of documents and a scientific investigation, I turn to whether the jury ought to be dispensed with. As was explained by Lambert J.A. in Nichols v. Gray, the discretion that arises in relation to the examination of documents and the scientific investigation is to be exercised particularly in relation to whether the examination or investigation can be made conveniently with a jury.
 Similar cases provide some guidance as to how to exercise this discretion, although each case turns on its unique facts. In the end, the determination of whether the examination and investigation can be made conveniently with a jury depends on my impression of how the trial in this particular case is likely to unfold. I see no impediment to the jury being able to understand the evidence in this case as it is given, and retaining that understanding through to the end of what is expected to be a four week trial. I think this case is one where counsel and the experts will be able to explain the medical concepts the jury will need to decide the issues. I expect that with the assistance of opening and closing addresses by able and experienced counsel followed by a proper charge, the jury will be able to properly address the issues in this case. This is a case in which the examination of documents and scientific investigation can be made “conveniently with a jury,” as that phrase has been judicially interpreted. I am not persuaded that the issues cannot be tried fairly by a jury; in fact, I am satisfied that the action can be justly determined on its merits via this mode of trial.