In this car accident case(Chen v. Beltran, 2011 BCSC 41) the court dismissed the litigation guardian’s claim on behalf of her injured son arising from an accident in which the boy sustained serious injury. The accident occurred when the child, riding a skateboard, entered the intersection of 10th Street and Royal Avenue in New Westminster and was struck by a car. The trial proceeded on the issue of fault only and the judge concluded the the boy was totally responsible for the accident. What seems to stand out in this personal injury case is the behaviour of the lawyer in making unfounded statements to the court about the evidence.
The court found that the statements were clearly directed against the manner in which the other lawyer presented the evidence, the questions the other lawyer asked his witnesses and his general strategy in presenting the case. There was however no evidence that the witnesses tried to deceive the Court.
Absent such evidence, the judge found the statements made by the injury claimant’s lawyer were unwarranted and a marked departure from the principle of civility which is a hallmark of the legal profession. The judge went on to state:
“ The importance of civility in the practice of law cannot be overstated. In the words of K. Nagorney from his article “A Noble Profession? A discussion of Civility Among Lawyers” (1999) 12 GJLE 815 at 816-17:
Civility within the legal system not only holds the profession together, but also contributes to the continuation of a just society. [Our legal system] is markedly adversarial and without something to act as a glue within, its adversarial nature might overrun its underlying goal of preserving liberty and justice. Conduct that may be characterized as uncivil, abrasive, hostile or obstructive necessarily impedes the goal of resolving conflicts rationally, peacefully, and efficiently, in turn delaying or even denying justice. Lawyers have altered the art of argument as a form of discourse into battle, made trial a siege and litigation a war. This mind set eliminates peaceable dealing and often forces dilatory, inconsiderate tactics that detract from just resolution.
 I agree with this statement. Unsupported allegations that opposing counsel has failed in his ethical duty to the Court are deserving of censure.”
The court was of the view the conduct of the injury claimant’s in making these statements fell within the definition of “reprehensible” and standing alone warranted an award of special costs. The lawyer representing the infant injury claimant was required to pay $1,500.00 for the reprehensible conduct. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness