Doubling Up On Rule 15 Costs
When two Rule 15 claims are joined for the purposes of trial the Court has discretion with respect to the costs parties are entitled to. Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, addressing this and awarding the Plaintiff two sets of costs.
In today’s case (Harvey v. Tooshley) “by order of the court, the trials in these actions were to be heard at the same time. The two actions were settled for a global figure about four days before the commencement of trial.”. The parties could not agree on costs with ICBC arguing “ there ought to be a reduction in the fees claimed in each action to reflect the savings and efficiencies achieved by having these matters joined for the purposes of trial.”. Master Bouck disagreed and ordered that the Plaintiff receive two sets of costs. In reaching this conclusion the Court provided the following reasons:
30] It is now well established that the registrar has some discretion to reduce the lump sum fee portion of costs allowed under Rule 15-1 if the action is settled before trial. That discretion is said to be a “rough and ready” exercise and allows the registrar to consider the steps been taken to the date of settlement. Nevertheless, the registrar is not expected to parse out those steps as if the tariff to Appendix B applies.
 The approach by assessing officers has been to make some reduction for the costs that might be attributed to attendance at trial and allow the balance as so-called preparation costs. Assessing officers have allowed $6,500 for these preparation costs, whether the matter settled three months before or on the eve of trial. The court has endorsed this approach: Christen v. McKenzie, 2013 BCSC 1317.
 Moreover, this approach is consistent with the purpose of Rule 15-1 which is to provide a simplified and streamlined litigation process, including the costs assessment process.
 The plaintiff is entitled to two sets of costs, regardless of the efficiencies accomplished by joining these actions for trial: Peacock v. Battel, 2013 BCSC 1902.
 I allow the sum of $6,500 in fees for each action.