0678786 BC LTD v BENNETT JONES LLP, 2023 ABKB 470


10.29: General rule for payment of litigation costs
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award

Case Summary

The Applicants, Bennett Jones LLP and Voorheis & Co. LLP, had previously applied to declare two Respondent companies (the “Respondent Companies”) and their lawyer (the “Respondent Lawyer”) in civil Contempt. The Applicants acknowledge that the Contempt had been purged by this stage in the proceedings, but still sought the Court’s direction on a penalty for the Contempt, or in the alternative, their Costs on an indemnity basis.

The Court imposed a fine on the Respondent Companies and the Respondent Lawyer for the Contempt, and then considered the appropriate Costs Award to the Applicant.

The Court found that the Applicants were entitled to their Schedule C Costs at 2 times the amounts in Column 3 less any amounts they had received from the Respondent Companies as Costs during the previous phases of the Contempt Application.  

The Court found that the this reflected its application of the considerations in Rule 10.29 and 10.33. The Court specifically noted that Costs on an enhanced scale were appropriate because (1) the Applicants were largely successful throughout on all phases of the Contempt process; (2) the Respondent Companies and the Respondent Lawyer improperly attempted to re-litigate previously decided issues, collaterally attacking earlier final decisions; (3) the Respondent Companies and the Respondent Lawyer failed to keep the Court process focused on the issues of Contempt, liability and then penalty; and (4) the Respondent Lawyer had facilitated their clients’ civil Contempt, which was itself egregious litigation conduct.

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