Civil Classification and Data Exclusions
In the Loom system, the ‘Civil’ practice area covers tort and contract law.
Our major areas of concentration are:
- Property Disputes
- Property Damage
- Corporate/Commercial Disputes
- Personal Injury
- Civil Rights Violations
- Consumer Rights Disputes
- Employment Law
- Contract Law
- Insurance Disputes
Because issues of law often straddle multiple topics, it can be challenging to create bright-line divisions between areas of law. In general, these are the principles we use to classify cases as ‘Civil’.
Firstly, there is a list of exclusions below. If a case matches any of the areas of law listed below, it is automatically set aside. Our definition of ‘Civil’ does not include cases classed as:
- Administrative Law, which is extended to provincial taxation cases
- Bankruptcies and proceedings brought under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, or other similar legislation
- Estates/Wills and adult guardianship issues
- Construction Lien and other areas of tort that are strictly statutory rights to sue in tort
- Civil enforcement cases by regulatory bodies, government bodies or individuals applying for enforcement of federal, provincial or municipal regulations and bylaws. Those are currently being sorted into the same category as our criminal law cases, based on the premise that they are brought for the purpose of enforcing the law
- Constitutional challenges to the validity of a given statute.
The second principle we consider is whether or not the case is one originating in the provincial jurisdiction of the trial, motion or application at issue. We currently do not include cases when an application is brought to enforce a plaintiff’s claim in another jurisdiction where the fundamental issue before the court is whether the decision is enforceable in that jurisdiction.
Third, at the moment we are not tracking governmental statutory rights in tort. That includes areas such as civil forfeiture or cases brought under BC’s Health Care Costs Recovery Act. This means that those cases are being set aside at this time, to be added in at a future point in time as our developing database framework allows.”
Decisions written in French also are not included in the Loom system, though we hope to include them in the future as our team and our coverage expands.
As a point of reference, between 2010 and 2016, 170 decisions published in the OSCJ were written in French (out of a body of more than 28,000 decisions). These decisions span all practice areas. We currently do not have an estimate of how many Civil decisions in particular are written in French.
Because of the current limitations of the Loom database, some decisions with higher levels of complexity are excluded. As the database continues to grow and be re-architected, these decisions will be included.
We have excluded specific files where a particular motion falls too far outside of our areas of concentration. One example is motions to have statutes declared unconstitutional in the process of a proceeding within the main action or application.
The other significant exclusions relate to cases where more than once cause of action under more than one case file number was heard. Because of the difficulty in entering the various parties and causes of action into the database in a way that makes the information accessible and comprehensible, we have only recently begun to include these cases. Many times it is not so much an issue of the complexity of the motion, outcome or trial, as it is the difficulty in presenting the plaintiffs under two or more different case numbers in relation to the defendants of those differing case numbers in a way that makes it clear who are the correct plaintiffs in relation to the defendants and which ones correlate to which.