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Ches Crosbie Barristers

Car Insurance Company Breaches Confidential Records Of Jurors

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In a recent court case in British Columbia, the main auto insurer in BC gave claims histories of members of the jury to their defence lawyer.

When this abuse was exposed, the CEO of Insurance Corporation of British Columbia admitted it was "completely inappropriate", and "a serious mistake". The company terminated the defence lawyer and reported the breach of confidentiality to the judge and plaintiff lawyers.

These events caused the Information and Privacy Commissioner to undertake an audit into the privacy aspects of ICBC court proceedings involving jurors.

It was not disclosed what the insurance lawyer in this personal injury trial and the insurance rep from which the juror information was obtained were going to do with the information. Was it to be used to argue for disqualification of certain jurors? Was it to be used to make appeal to the perceptions and biases of jurors inferred from information that no one else possessed? Whatever the answer, there is no doubt that this invasion of confidentiality represented a serious undermining of the integrity of the administration of justice.

Of course this sort of breach of confidentiality is not ICBC policy, but the significance of this incident is in the fact that elements of the insurance and legal defence communities are willing to engage in abusive practices to win at any cost.

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