This personal injury case addressed the issue of hiring an out of town personal injury lawyer (Miley v. Abulaban, 2015 BCSC 720 ).  The claimant has the right to chose to hire a lawyer based in Vancouver, or anywhere in the Lower Mainland,  when the claimant is based in the Lower Mainland and the car accident took place in the Lower Mainland.
After refusing to make a reasonable offer before trial, an ICBC insured driver was hammered with having to pay double costs. the order after trial awarded the claimant $193,522.16, and subsequently ordered that the claimant was entitled to double costs on tariff items 34, 35 and 36. See: ICBC must pay Expert Fees
In accepting that is was proper for the claimant to have hired an experienced out of town personal injury lawyer the court comments,

[145] While retaining out of town counsel was not, strictly speaking, necessary, the plaintiff retained counsel who had considerable experience in motor vehicle litigation and in presenting a difficult damages claim. It was therefore proper for the plaintiff to retain out of town counsel.

The following principles  should be used to determine whether or not costs associated with the retention of out-of-town counsel should properly be visited upon the unsuccessful party:

1.    The tariff of party and party costs is predicated on there being a traditional review of all costs and disbursements claimed by the successful party and the allowance of those items found to be reasonable and necessary in the particular circumstances of the case before they are properly visited upon the defendant.

2.   The particular circumstances of each case will determine if particular cost items and related disbursements should be borne by the unsuccessful party.

3.    The assessing officer’s review of Item 36 claims (out-of-town counsel) and related disbursements should be no different than the assessing officer’s review of any other item and related disbursement, the sole question being reasonableness and necessity.

4.   Relative to Item 36 and related disbursements, there should be no set rule that a successful party will be denied indemnification relative to these costs unless exceptional circumstances are shown to exist.

5.   The reasonableness of the decision to engage out-of-town lawyer must be demonstrated by the party submitting the bill, the onus remaining with him or her as it is with he or she demonstrating the necessity and reasonableness of any other disbursement incurred in the prosecution of the case for which indemnification from the unsuccessful party is claimed.

6.    In determining the reasonableness of the submitting party’s decision to retain out-of-town lawyer, the assessing officer should objectively attempt to determine whether or not the decision to retain the out-of-town counsel was reasonable and necessary in all of the circumstances.

Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment