Rule 53.03 does not Apply to Accident Benefits Assessors - Beasley not Followed

You may recall that we blogged about Justice Moore's decision in Beasley v. Barrand, which held that accident benefits assessors could not testify as they had not complied with the new r. 53 pertaining to experts. A new decision was released on April 26, 2011 which refused to follow Beasley.

In McNeill v. Filthaut, 2011 ONSC 265 (S.C.J.), the defendants sought to call DAC assessors to testify at trial. The plaintiff objected on the basis that they had not provided r. 53.03 compliant reports.

Justice MacLeod-Beliveau held that r. 53.03 does not apply to individuals retained by non-parties to the litigation.

Justice MacLeod-Beliveau held that since r. 4.1.01 (acknowledgment of expert's duty) refers to experts "engaged by a party", it does not apply to experts retained by non-parties, such as accident benefits assessors. Interpreting the rules otherwise potentially deprives the Court of relevant evidence.

There are now two different lines of decisions regarding the testimony of non-party experts. It will be necessary for the Court of Appeal to clarify this important area of the law.

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