One of the exceptions to BC’s general rule that ‘costs follow the event‘ is that a party can be ordered to pay their opponents costs relating to a distinct issue at trial. This was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released last week in the context of an ICBC claim.
In last week’s case (Garcha v. Gill) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2005 motor vehicle collision. Following trial the Plaintiff’s damages were assessed at just over $30,000. The Plaintiff had sought damages for loss of income although this portion of his claim was largely unsuccessful. The Defendant applied to be paid a portion of the trial costs. Mr. Justice Cohen agreed that the Defendant was entitled to this relief as the wage loss claim was “the most contentious item during the litigation“. In ordering the Plaintiff to pay 30% of the costs the Court provided the following reasons:
 I find that the defendant is entitled to an order for an apportionment of costs.
 The test for whether or not an apportionment of costs should occur is set out in Sutherland v. The Attorney General of Canada, 2008 BCCA 27:
 The test for the apportionment of costs under Rule 57(15) can be set out as follows:
(1) the party seeking apportionment must establish that there are separate and discrete issues upon which the ultimately unsuccessful party succeeded at trial;
(2) there must be a basis on which the trial judge can identify the time attributable to the trial of these separate issues;
(3) it must be shown that apportionment would effect a just result.
 First, I am satisfied that the issue of past income loss is a discrete issue. I am further satisfied that an apportionment of costs of 70% to the plaintiff and 30% to the defendant, as submitted by the defendant, is fair in the circumstances of this case, given the amount for past income loss awarded to the plaintiff, when compared with his claimed amount; the fact that the plaintiff abandoned his claim for future income loss at the commencement of the trial; and, the inordinate amount of time which had to be spent by the defence prior to the trial to secure proper disclosure of the plaintiff’s business records. There is no doubt from the chronology of the events preceding the trial that the plaintiff’s failure to provide full and timely document production of his business records had a large impact on the conduct of the proceedings leading up to and during the trial.