This is a brief update on the original article published in our April 7, 2016 issue titled “Is it Going to Cost You More? Upcoming Amendments to British Columbia’s Costs Rules”.
On March 31, 2016, the Attorney General of British Columbia bowed to concerns from ICBC, the province’s public auto insurer, and rescinded the amendments to the costs tariff and fees that were to come into force on July 1, 2016. This was a controversial decision by the government which came as a complete surprise to the plaintiff’s bar and caused B.C. Supreme Court justices and senior lawyers to quit an important advisory committee, which had been tasked with recommending changes to the tariffs and the calculation of the approved expenses incurred during litigation.
It appears that ICBC raised concerns that these changes could increase the cost to defend motorists and could have an impact on everyone’s insurance rates. The B.C. government spokesperson advised that that there will be further consultation, to understand the impacts on ICBC and to give them a chance to make their case, prior to a final decision on these changes. As such, the current costs rules will remain unchanged until further notice from the government. It may very well be the case that the changes to the costs, with or without further amendments arising from the consultation, may come into force at a later date. Keep an eye out for these potential amendments and we will report on those at the time at the time final decision is made.