Let’s face it, contaminated sites remediation requires courage. Cleanup can be expensive, and the regulations are not bedtime reading. Developers want to avoid missteps, minimize exposure to claims by others, and maximize potential recovery of their costs of remediation against polluters. They will therefore often lean on lawyers with environmental expertise to guide them through remediation. So is there any relief from these costs?
If you pay for such legal advice in BC, you may well be able to claim all or part of those legal fees against polluters or ‘responsible persons’, according to the recent case out of the Court of Appeal in Victory Motors (Abbotsford) Ltd. v. Actton Super-Save Gas Stations Ltd., 2021 BCCA 129. Click here to read the full Environmental Law Case Summary. The rationale is pretty straightforward. Consultants of all kinds traditionally clean up dirty sites, and their costs are recoverable under BC’s Environmental Management Act, so why should legal consultants playing a similar role be any different?
This means getting legal advice early in your remediation project, so any potentially recoverable legal costs are properly separated and accounted for – and then claimed (on time!) against responsible persons – if appropriate.