When a Plaintiff in an ICBC claim commences legal action claiming damages for injuries and economic loss arising from a motor vehicle accident, the ICBC claim can sometimes be dismissed in its’ entirety for what is known as want of prosecution, meaning that no material or significant legal step has been taken in the ICBC claim for several years, and that the ICBC claim has not proceeded in a timely fashion. Want of prosecution applies to other civil cases as well not involving ICBC claims.
In Louie v. Webber, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision in 1998. Legal proceedings were commenced in March, 1999, and ICBC’S lawyer filed a Statement of Defence (as it was then called) in October, 1999. Liability was not in dispute, however quantum (amount) of damages was. The Plaintiff went through four lawyers, before finally deciding to represent herself. ICBC’S lawyer had set the matter for trial five times, however each time the trial did not proceed, due to the Plaintiff‘s lack of readiness for trial. The Plaintiff also failed to attend two Examinations for Discovery, and when she did attend on one occasion, she failed to provide responsive answers to questions posed to her. In 2009, ICBC’S lawyer sought an order dismissing the matter for want of prosecution. The application was dismissed, however there was an order that the Plaintiff comply with the litigation process. At a Trial Management Conference in early 2013, the matter was stayed until the Plaintiff could obtain legal representation. Although the Court did not dismiss the Plaintiff‘s claim in the most recent court application, it did order strict conditions that the Plaintiff must meet.
(7) If, on application by a party, it appears to the court that there is want of prosecution in a proceeding, the court may order that the proceeding be dismissed.
 The new Rule has been found to be essentially unchanged from the former Rule 2(7): 0690860 Manitoba Ltd. v. Country West Construction Ltd. 2009 BCCA 535 (CanLII), 2009 BCCA 535. The jurisprudence concerning the old Rule is therefore applicable to applications brought under the new Rule.
1. There has been inordinate delay;
2. The inordinate delay is inexcusable; and
3. The delay has caused, or is likely to cause, serious prejudice to the applicant.
 Dismissal for want of prosecution is a draconian remedy. The court should exercise caution and restraint when it considers the motion. This means that, among other things, the court should not dismiss the proceeding in order to punish the dilatory plaintiff. The discretion to dismiss for want of prosecution should only be exercised when the delay has affected the balance of justice so as to impair the opportunity for the parties to have a fair trial.
 The plaintiff does have a claim and is probably entitled to some damages. She feels strongly about her claim. Despite the prejudice that the defence has experienced, in my opinion justice requires that the plaintiff have one last opportunity to put her case before the court.