Costs & Sufficient Reasons for Bringing Proceedings in Supreme Court

The Rules of Court allow for an award of costs (the amount given to the successful party to allay the legal costs of the lawsuit) to a party when they are awarded $25,000 or more. If a successful party is awarded less than that amount the court can still award costs but only if it finds that the successful party had “sufficient reason” for brining the action in Supreme Court (rather than in Provincial Court, where legal costs cannot be awarded. What constitutes sufficient reason has been considered in many cases. In the recently published case of Kargbo v. Chand, 2011 BSCS 1488, Mr. Justice Williams canvassed the law in this area in awarding $9,500 in costs to a Plaintiff whose damages were assessed at a mere $4,000 at trial.

 

With respect to the particular factors weighing in favour of a costs award, Justice Williams said the following:

 

[12] In the present case, liability was denied and in the circumstances could reasonably have been expected to represent a challenge to prove. As well, the issue of damages had the real potential of being a problem. The plaintiff had a history of prior accidents and had been hospitalized shortly after the accident in question for matters not related to the accident. She was also injured in another more serious accident some several months after the accident…it was the sort of case that a self-represented plaintiff would find daunting no doubt.

 

[13] taking those considerations into account, it is my view that this plaintiff had sufficient reason for brining her proceeding in the Supreme Court.

 

 

[15] In the circumstances, it is may view that the plaintiff should be entitled to costs in accordance with the Rules of Court. I recognize that might appear to produce a curious result in that the award of costs is substantially greater than the damages that she recovered. However, if the matter is considered fairly and objectively and the relevant rule applied, that result will follow.

 

 

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