In this Fast Track personal injury case, the claimant settled 5 months before trial and was successful in seeking the full amount allowed for legal costs pursuant to Rule 15-1(15) (Karp v. Kalsi,2015 BCSC 1949). The car accident in question occurred 4 years before the scheduled trial after the parties had exchanged documents and the claimant was examined for discovery.
The court was  satisfied that the case was substantially ready for trial.  In reaching his conclusion Master Cameron relied upon Christen v. McKenzie, 2013 BCSC 1317, where the court said:

[35]  To my mind significant preparation for trial ought to be sufficient to entitle the successful party to costs for pre-trial preparation to the full amount of the cap, presently $6,500 pursuant to Rule 15-1(15). Pre-trial preparation may take various forms given the demands of the particular action. Whether the parties engage in extensive negotiations or mediation and thus achieve a settlement months or days before trial, the preparation by counsel may easily approach that required to actually conduct the trial. The focus ought to be on the amount of useful preparatory work done and not where in the pre-trial timeline the resolution was reached.

[36]      … The efficacy of conducting a fast track action ought not to be undermined by a costs analysis that bogs down in the picayune.

In this ICBC personal injury case the parties were ready for trial when the settlement offer was accepted.  As Master Cameron aptly points out,  “As is almost always the case, unless a settlement occurs “on the courthouse steps”, there is something more that could be done by counsel for the parties but Supreme Court Civil Rule 15-1 is meant to encourage timely settlement and resolution of litigation, including claims for costs.

The claimant was therefore awarded the full amount allowed pursuant to Rule 15-1(15), being $6,500 plus taxes.

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

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