The British Columbia government has added regulations to the Evidence Act that now cap disbursements at 6% of the overall value of a motor vehicle accident claim that is litigated through the Supreme Court.
Although the intent of the new regulations is primarily aimed at the cost of expert reports, the scope of what actually constitutes a disbursement is widely encompassing, including such items as courier fees, process server fees, and photocopying charges.
Exceptions include fees payable to the Crown, such as court fees and filing fees.
The new limit will apply to court cases where a Notice of Trial was not filed and served by August 12, 2020, for a trial date before June 1, 2021.
The limit will not apply the limit in the following circumstances.
- where a Notice of Trial was filed and served before August 12, 2020, and the trial date is before June 1, 2021
- where a Notice of Trial was filed and served before August 12, 2020, the trial date is on or after June 1, 2021, and the Court is satisfied that the litigant necessarily or properly incurred disbursements before August 12, 2020, that were in excess of the limit
As was the case last year when the government introduced measures to restrict the amount of experts and expert reports that a Plaintiff could use, which were deemed unconstitutional, a constitutional challenge will likely ensue. The new regulations on disbursements as they stand now will mean that a Plaintiff may not be able to call all necessary evidence to fully prove their case. This will be particularly detrimental in more serious cases, where multiple experts are often required to testify to a multitude of injuries sustained by a Plaintiff.