Advance Payment Orders and Adjournment Applications
In 2009 the BC Court of Appeal made it clear that the BC Supreme Court has no authority to make a stand-alone order for an advance payment of damages and any advance payment order must piggy-back another order relying on Rule 13-1(19).
When faced with an order adjourning an injury trial where liability is admitted that is a good time to seek an advance payment order. If, for whatever reason such an order cannot be spoken to at the time of adjournment, it is a good practice to seek leave that as part of the adjournment a plaintiff has permission to bring an advance payment application at a later time. Such a practice was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry.
In this week’s case (Estey v. Bateson) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision. The matter was set down for trial but was ultimately adjourned. At the time the Plaintiff had the foresight to seek an order granting leave to apply for an advance as a term of the adjournment Ultimately a $15,000 advance was ordered and the Court provided the following summary of the legal principles to be considered:
1] The plaintiff applies for an advance of $35,000 on his claim for damages relating to a motor vehicle accident which occurred on August 16, 2008 and for costs thrown away as a result of the adjournment.
 Liability has been admitted and the trial, which was set to commence on February 13, 2012 for 10 days, was adjourned on that date by Fitzpatrick J.; at the time of the adjournment leave was granted to the plaintiff to apply for an advance and for costs thrown away…
 Master Keighley considered the issue of the jurisdiction to order an advance other than as a term of an adjournment in the case of Cikojevic v. Timm, 2007 BCSC 1689 and found that such jurisdiction does exist. In addition, I rely upon the order of Fitzpatrick J. which expressly granted the plaintiff liberty to make such application in this particular case.
 The court has a discretionary authority to order that an advance be paid but such order should only be made in special circumstances and only if the judge or master is satisfied that there is no possibility that the ultimate award of damages will be less than the amount of the advance: see Serban v. Casselman,  B.C.J. No. 254 (B.C.C.A.) and Cikojevic v. Timm, 2008 BCSC 74. Two of the considerations which the court must address are the length of time which will pass until trial and whether the delay will cause the plaintiff financial hardship: see O’Ruairc v. Pelletier, 2002 BCSC 1107 and Cikojevic.