Why The Canadian Court System Needs An Element of Surprise For Proof

One highlight of the BC court process I witnessed was how not having a full element of surprise for straight forward civil cases in the initial stage can make an issue more complex than it needs to be. Essentially, in the court process you are supposed to provide the other party with all your evidence ahead of time so that they can prepare on how to answer it. This is supposed to make it fair. But does it really?

Based on my experience and observations this process simply enables people to potentially sway their statements into a different direction. As a humorous but in many ways an accurate example that can happen, take a look at this Dr. Phil episode about a man who completely denies having an affair with more women than the ones which he has been caught with:

For those who don’t want to watch through the whole thing, basically it progresses in a rather embarrassing fashion where when he denies there is no one else he has cheated with they then introduce another women. He then says that is really it only then for more women to be introduced. This leads to eventually him making comments such as “I wonder how many more chairs you can fit over there” in reference to how many more women there really are.

Imagine if in this situation they told the guy ahead of time of everything they knew. Basically, it will give him an opportunity to change his story direction. How would not having an element of surprise help in getting the full truth out here? Yet in many ways this is how the BC provincial civil court process works from my experience.

I think the solution would be pretty simple. In the initial stages you need to get the two parties to describe the whole version of their story in detail. After each party submits their version of the story, a session needs to be conducted where an official court representative or say a judge needs to verify and clarify any fine details of the submitted story so that one can’t backtrack from it or claim that they meant to say something else. Afterwards each party would submit their evidence where an impartial judge/jury will evaluate everything and they can sit both parties down based on the facts and statements to make a decision or to determine the next step.

I encourage anyone to try and explain why something like this wouldn’t work better for civil cases. Like saying again a jury of people on social media can probably find out the truth faster and more accurately when you minus the bureaucratic nature of the court process.