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Costs and "Transitional Proceedings" in the BC Supreme Court

One of the notable changes under the new BC Supreme Court Civil Rules was an increase in Tariff Costs.  If a trial occurred under the former Rules of Court but the reasons for judgement are not delivered until after the new BC Supreme Court Civil Rules came into effect which Rules govern the costs award?  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing this question.

In this week’s case (X v. Y) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2005 motorcycle collision.  He worked as an undercover RCMP officer and as a result was given permission to have himself and witnesses referred to via initials in the reasons for judgement.  His injuries included a burst fracture in his mid-spine.  His claim for damages was successful at trial which took place under the former Rules of Court.   The reasons for judgement, however, were not released until after the new Rules came into force.

The Defendant agreed the Plaintiff was entitled to costs but argued the lesser costs under the former Rules should apply.  Madam Justice Dardi rejected this argument and awarded costs under the current Rules.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:

[10] Under the New Rules a transitional proceeding means a proceeding that was started before July 1, 2010.

[11] Supreme Court Civil Rule 24-1(2) states as follows:

A transitional proceeding is deemed to be a proceeding started under these Supreme Court Civil Rules.

[12] Supreme Court Civil Rule 24-1(14) states that:

If a step in a proceeding is taken before July 1, 2010, the former Supreme Court Rules apply to any right or obligation arising out of or relating to that step if and to the extent that that right or obligation is to have effect before September 1, 2010.

[13] Section 10 of Appendix B to the New Rules provides:

Without limiting section 9, Appendix B of the Supreme Court Rules, B.C. Reg. 221/90, as it read on June 30, 2010, applies to

(a) orders for costs made after December 31, 2006 and before July 1, 2010,

(b) settlements reached after December 31, 2006 and before July 1, 2010 under which payment of assessed costs is agreed to,

(c) costs payable on acceptance of an offer to settle made under Rule 37 or 37B, if that offer to settle was made after December 31, 2006 and before July 1, 2010, and

(d) all assessments related to those orders, settlements and costs.

[14] This proceeding is a transitional proceeding pursuant to Rule 24-1(2) and as such, the determination of costs is governed by Rule 14-1. Although the trial was commenced under the former Rules, the judgment in this matter was rendered on July 18, 2011. The defendants’ obligation to pay damages arose on that date. As there were no rights or obligations arising out of or relating to the trial that were to have effect before September 1, 2010, I cannot conclude that Rule 24-1(14) has any application to the determination of costs in this case.

[15] Furthermore, on a plain reading of Section 10 of Appendix B, Appendix B of the former Rules has no application to this case as there were no relevant offers or orders made prior to July 1, 2010.

[16] In the result I conclude that the New Rules govern the determination of costs in this proceeding.

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