The costs a successful litigant is entitled to recover from an
unsuccessful party is governed by "Division 2 – The
Tariff: Schedule C" of the Alberta Rules of
Court, Alta Reg 124/ 2010. Schedule C, and the costs a
party is entitled to recovery for steps taken in an action, have
not been adjusted since 1998. The Rules of Court Committee
recently released its recommendations
for amendments to Schedule C and the costs awarded during
and after litigation. The Committee noted that there was a
broad consensus amongst interested parties who provided feedback
that Column C should be increased. An increase of 35% was
recommended by the Committee to account for inflation. It was
further recommended that Schedule C be reviewed and increased every
three years to adjust for inflation.
Costs are primarily intended to indemnify the successful
litigant for a portion of their legal costs. Full
indemnification (referred to as "solicitor-client costs")
are less frequently awarded by the Courts because cost awards are
intended to also promote early settlement, encourage efficient use
of Court time and to promote efficiency during litigation
(British Columbia v. Okanagan Indian Band, 2003 SCC
71). Schedule C provides the basic structure for cost awards;
however the Court holds ultimate discretion to determine what costs
a party receives.
The Committee recommended that a fee should not be added where
an action resolves through Mediation or Judicial Dispute
Resolution. Although preparing for and attending a dispute
resolution may involve considerable legal expense, the Committee
recommended that dispute resolution not be viewed as something a
party can "win or lose". Dispute resolution, the
Committee suggested, was not necessary for the majority of actions
where the parties were represented by counsel and where the parties
take reasonable positions.
With respect to feedback on several other changes to Column C,
the Committee noted that costs were intended to provide a party
with between 30% and 50% of their actual legal expenses. On
that basis, the Committee was not prepared to recommend that fees
be allowed for background work which included steps such as
organizing experts, answering undertakings, for cancelled
Questionings, the service of documents or scheduling of
trials. The Committee was mindful that parties may attempt to
drive up their costs as a strategy in litigation and recommended
not adding additional fee items which a party could seek to
What This Means To You?
The Committee's proposed changes to Column C are not
dramatic despite costs having been unchanged since 1998. The
Committee is recommending an increase of approximately 35% in each
of the existing columns which would come into effect on July 1,
2015. It was further recommended that a successful litigant
be entitled to the increased schedule of costs regardless of
whether a step was taken before or after July 1,
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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