What is the standard for awarding special costs in a personal injury action?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Bajwa v Habib, 2019 BCSC 721 (CanLII):

The single standard for the awarding of special costs is that the conduct in question properly be categorized as “reprehensible.” The word “reprehensible” has a wide meaning. It encompasses scandalous or outrageous conduct, but it also encompasses milder forms of misconduct deserving of reproof or rebuke. An award of special costs is intended to chastise a party for reprehensible conduct. It is not necessary that all aspects of a party’s conduct in the litigation are reprehensible in order to make an award of special costs that applies to the entire action. By rebuking reprehensible conduct, the court punishes bad behaviour and deters it. It also serves to distance the court from the conduct at issue. See Gichuru v. Smith, 2014 BCCA 414 (“Gichuru CA”), at para. 79.

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