Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A doctor's view on the proposed ICBC no-fault auto insurance plan.

Here's an article in the Vancouver Sun by a doctor regarding the proposed no-fault automobile insurance plan in BC.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The proposed change to no-fault automobile insurance in BC

Here's the link to a column in the Georgia Straight with a good explanation of why the proposed change to no-fault automobile insurance in BC is misguided.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Paperwork filed publicly to conclude a lawsuit

There have been articles in our trusty local newspaper over the last few months (such as this one) referring to lawsuits being "dismissed" and each party paying its own court costs.  In the case of this specific dispute, the lawsuit was ended by the filing of a Consent Order.

There are two common ways to end a lawsuit by agreement.  One of them is to file a court order (called a Consent Order or, sometimes, a Consent Dismissal Order) which typically includes terms to the effect that the lawsuit is dismissed as if it had been tried on the merits, and that each party agrees to pay its own court costs.  However, that does not mean that no money changed hands between the parties "behind the scenes," including either or both of damages and court costs.  There may be many other terms in the settlement or conclusion of a lawsuit, such as one or more parties signing a Release or that they agree to keep the settlement or conclusion confidential.

A filed Consent Order can be viewed by any member of the public (unless the court file is sealed for privacy reasons, such as in family law cases) simply by attending Court Registry during normal business hours and asking to review the court file, or by searching the court file online through Court Services Online (in either case, upon payment of a modest search fee -- the government always gets its slice).  By drafting such a Consent Order in terms similar to those used in this specific case, it allows the parties to end the lawsuit without revealing the details of that settlement or conclusion.

When reading similar future news articles, the only conclusion to be drawn safely is that the lawsuit is over.  What happened behind the scenes to get to that point remains unknown.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ontario lawyers and contingency fee agreements

The rules regulating contingency fee agreements (percentage agreements) in Ontario have been in the limelight recently due to concerns raised with respect to the conduct of some lawyers.  For example, see this article in the Toronto Star from January, 2017:

The Law Society of Upper Canada now has announced proposals to address these concerns:

In British Columbia, we have had for years the kind of rules now proposed for Ontario contingency fee agreements, under Part 8 of the Legal Profession Act (British Columbia) (the "Act").  Among other things, pursuant to s. 67(2) of the Act, lawyers may not "double dip" (take a percentage of the client's settlement or award and take the client's "court costs" amount).  In addition, pursuant to s. 69(4) of the Act, a lawyer's bill must contain a detailed statement of the lawyer's disbursements (the expenses incurred by the lawyer on behalf of the client).

There are many other rules in Part 8 of the Act which are intended to regulate contingency fee agreements and other aspects of lawyers' bills.  The full text of Part 8 is here:

The Code of Professional Conduct for lawyers in British Columbia also contains provisions regarding contingency fee agreements:

Fortunately, this regulatory gap now being addressed in Ontario simply doesn't exist here in British Columbia.


Monday, November 06, 2017

Technical glitch with the Contact Submission Form on my web site

Over the last few weeks I've had a technical glitch with the Contact Submission Form on my Contact page.  It seems that several messages sent to me using the form have not gotten through.  I'm sorry for this difficulty.

It appears that the problem is fixed now.  If you sent me a message but did not receive a reply, please don't hesitate to re-send it through the Contact page, or simply call me:

          250-564-5544 or toll-free 1-877-964-5544

 Thank you for your understanding.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Some of the concrete benefits of mediation over trials

Here are some interesting facts collected by Mediate BC, the professional body which administers the civil and family rosters of professional mediators:

1.   Mediate BC roster mediators (family and civil) conducted nearly 12,000 mediations in 2013.

2.   68 per cent of civil mediations resolved all issues between the parties, and a further 25 per cent of civil mediations did not resolve all issues but helped the parties make progress towards a resolution.  In other words, in 93 per cent of civil mediations, the mediation resulted in a complete or a partial settlement of the dispute.

3.   The average total mediation fees for a civil mediation were $1,566.  The average legal fees for a litigation dispute up to and including a two-day civil trial were $21,452 per party, or $42,904 for two parties.  In other words, if a civil mediation is conducted before lawyers are retained, the cost of the mediation is a small fraction of the costs of litigation.

4.   Cases which included a mediation resolved on average about five months sooner than those which did not.

5.   93 per cent of participants in civil mediations had an average-or-higher satisfaction rate with the process.

Mediation is not the perfect answer in every case, but the numbers show that it's usually a cost-effective way to conclude a dispute successfully.