When there is divided success between the parties after a trial, and a dispute arises as to entitlement to court costs, the courts often look to which party had to the “substantial success” as being the justification for an award of costs.
In Webber v Sullivan 2019 BCSC 1784, the court stated:
“Rule 14 –1(9) of the SCCR provides that the costs of the proceeding must be awarded to the successful party unless the court otherwise orders. When the litigation concerns multiple causes of action, it is appropriate to apply the “substantial success” to decide which party has been successful. The Owners, Strata Plan LMS3259 v Sze Hang Holdings Inc 2017 BCCA 34 at paragraphs 91 – 92.
“Substantial success” is determined by looking at the matters in dispute between the parties, assessing their importance to the parties, and doing a global determination of which party succeeded overall. Gagne v Sharp 2015 BCSC at 42.
The determination of substantial success is not require “meticulous mathematical calculation” of the precise amount of court time spent on various issues. Substantial success is measured in broad terms: Stearman v Powers 2017 BCCA 165 at para.65