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B.C. Adopts New Tariff of Costs
July 5, 1999

In British Columbia a new regulation establishing a tariff of costs for expropriation purposes is now in effect. The tariff provides a formula for reimbursement of the professional fee portion of an owner's costs by the expropriating authority. It replaces the previous "actual reasonable" cost system which had been in effect since the present Expropriation Act was adopted in 1987. The new regulation took effect on June 28, 1999.

The tariff of costs applies both to advance payments and final cost recovery. Two schedules are provided, one for legal services and the other for appraisal services. There is no apparent provision for recovery of the cost of other experts such as planners, engineers and business valuators. Disbursements can still be recovered but no specific formula is provided.

The tariff tackles the issue of the GST status of claimants by requiring a claimant to prove that he/she is not a registrant. In the absence of this evidence, a claimant is not entitled to recover GST paid on accounts for professional services.

Also included is a provision which appears to prevent a claimant from recovering interest on unpaid professional accounts. The right to recover interest as an item of costs was previously established in the 1995 B.C. Supreme Court decision in Tidmarsh v. Comox-Strathcona Regional District, [1995] EXLAW 93.

The tariff will undoubtedly generate considerable litigation in the near future as the various features are fully tested by claimants and authorities.

The Tariff of Costs Regulation may be viewed at www.ecb.gov.bc.ca/news/reg189_9.htm

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