Production of Documents – Petition Proceedings
Stephen Antle and Alan Cofman for the Petitioners

The Petitioners brought an application under Rule 52(8) of the Rules of Court (the rule governing evidence on a Chambers application) seeking production of several categories of documents from the Respondents. Since this was a petition proceeding rather than an action, the general disclosure of documents rules did not apply. The Respondents had acquired control of Primary Metals Inc., a company in which the Petitioners had a minority interest, by buying shares at less than market value, and the Petitioners challenged the acquisition as unfair and prejudicial under the oppression provisions of the B.C. Business Corporations Act (the “BCBCA”). They also challenged certain corporate transactions that had occurred after the acquisition of control. The Petitioners argued that the scope of the oppression remedies under the BCBCA was broad enough to allow them access to various corporate documents that were otherwise unavailable to them since they were not involved in management of Primary Metals. The Respondents argued that the discretion under Rule 52(8) was much more limited than the general powers to order documentary discovery and should only be exercised where the documents sought are relevant to the material issues in the proceeding. They accused the Petitioners' disclosure requests of being overly broad and vague.

The court ordered disclosure of all but two categories of documents sought. It simply limited the date range of some of the Petitioners' requests and refused to order production of certain specific draft agreements. It held that all of the requests were relevant and that it was an appropriate circumstance to exercise its discretion to order production despite the caution urged by the Respondents.