Court Costs Summarized

Court Costs Summarized

LeClair v Mibrella Inc. 2011 BCSC 533  summarized the law of court costs  and it  was recently re cited in Parmar Estate v Tiwari 2016 BCSC 540:

  1. costs represent an important instrument by which courts can either promote or, conversely, sanction given conduct. Rule 14-1(9) provides one means of achieving this overarching object;
  2. the onus is on the person who seeks to displace the usual rule that costs follow the event though Rule 14-1(9) conveys a discretion to the court, that discretion is to be exercised in a principled way;
  3. the exercise of discretion must be connected to the conduct or misconduct of a party in the litigation;
  4. the conduct in question can arise either at trial or at some earlier stage in the proceeding
  5. costs are not to be used to sanction a party whose evidence was exaggerated or who gave evidence in error; and
  6. where a court concludes that a party has intentionally or deliberately sought to mislead the court, that party will normally be deprived of costs.

Apportionment of Court Costs

Mawdsley v Meshen 2011 BCSC 923 , at para. 44:

[44] An essential principle articulated by the Court of Appeal in Worthington and Sutherland, and recently endorsed in Lewis v. Lehigh Northwest Cement Limited, 2009 BCCA 424, at para. 36, is that because apportionment is an exception to the usual rule, it is to be confined to relatively rare cases. Consequently, it would be overly simplistic to approach apportionment as being a given in all cases where the party who has been successful overall has lost one or more issues, even discrete issues, in the proceeding. There is no automatic entitlement to apportionment despite the aforesaid outcome. At the end of the day, apportionment is meant to achieve fairness in the particular circumstances. For that reason, care must be taken so that an apportionment does not result in an unintended or plainly unfair set-off of costs to a plaintiff who has enjoyed substantial success. Of necessity, apportionment is a matter of judicial discretion.

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