PMC Builders & Developers Ltd v Country West Construction Ltd 2009 BCCA 535 is one of the leading cases in BC for dismissal of a court action for delay, also known as want of prosecution.
It was recently followed in an estate case Re Strom estate 2017 BCSC 824 where the court declined to dismiss the case for delay in proceeding with the case to resolution.
It is a fact that a certain number of court cases are commenced and then never set for trial and sit for literally years without being resolved. It is open to the opposing party to apply to dismiss such an action for delay. The courts will not dismiss an action for delay lightly and will review a number of criteria, especially any prejudice caused to the opposing party by the delay.
The test essentially is on balance is it in the interest of justice to dismiss the case for delay.
Dismissal For Delay: The Law
Lengthy delay by a plaintiff in bringing a claim to trial must be carefully considered in the context of evidence presented by both sides as to actual prejudice to the defendant in presenting its case at trial. Any prejudice will only be material to the extent that it was caused by the plaintiff’s inordinate delay, not by other events.