BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

Expert Witness and Plaintiff Preparation Time Recoverable In Bill of Costs

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Kamloops Registry, addressing costs for witness preparation.

In last week’s case (Carson v. Henyecz) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision. ¬†She succeed at both a liability trial and¬†subsequently¬†at a quantum assessment. ¬†The Plaintiff was awarded costs. ¬†With the¬†exception¬†of experts, the Plaintiff was the only witness at trial. ¬†The Plaintiff sought costs for interviewing witnesses for both the Plaintiff and expert witnesses. ¬†ICBC argued this was not recoverable as item 18 of the Tarriff does not include parties nor experts. ¬†Master McDiarmid disagreed and allowed costs for these items. ¬†In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:

[24]¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The most significant dispute between counsel was with respect to item 18. The plaintiff submitted that the process associated with interviewing witnesses included interviewing those witnesses with respect to their attendance at trial. The plaintiff submitted that this included interviewing the plaintiff, who was of course a witness on her own behalf in both trials. It was also submitted by plaintiff‚Äôs counsel that item 18 would also permit units to be awarded for interviewing the experts with respect to their attendance at trial…

[30]¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Forms 20 and 21, the case plan proposal and case plan order, have separate sections for expert witnesses and contain provisions for providing a witness list. Form 41, the trial brief, has a heading entitled ‚ÄúWitnesses to be Called On,‚ÄĚ which requires the parties to provide the names and addresses of the witnesses the filing party intends to call at trial, together with an estimate for the time each witness will need for giving direct evidence. There is no differentiation on a trial brief between witnesses who are parties, witnesses who are representatives of corporate parties, expert witnesses, or other witnesses.

[31]         From this I conclude that a party can claim under item 18 with respect to all witnesses for all parties, including in this case the plaintiff and including expert witnesses.

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