ADM v SWL, 2016 ABQB 96


4.29: Costs consequences of formal offer to settle
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award

Case Summary

Following the adjudication of a family law issue, the parties disputed Costs and reappeared before Justice Jones. The Respondent had submitted a detailed draft Bill of Costs for the Court’s consideration. The Respondent, SWL, submitted, amongst a number of things, that he was entitled to double Costs in accordance with Rule 4.29 because his Formal Offer to Settle was not accepted. The Applicant, ADM, argued that SWL had not served the Formal Offer to Settle in accordance with the Rules, and therefore could not claim double Costs. SWL argued that, in the alternative, if the Court would not award double Costs in accordance with Rule 4.29, enhanced Costs should be awarded based on the factors set out in Rule 10.33.

SWL’s draft Bill of Costs addressed many other Costs claims which ADM disputed. Jones J. referred to Rules 10.33(1) and 10.33(2), which provide factors and guidelines that the Court may consider when making a discretionary Costs award. Justice Jones held that many of the enhanced Costs claimed by SWL were warranted, not because their Formal Offer to Settle was rejected, but because of the complexity of the claims and arguments that SWL advanced. His Lordship awarded double Schedule C Column 1 for some of SWL’s Costs. Jones J. also allowed Costs for the provision of evidence by expert witnesses on the basis that, when the information obtained from the experts assists the Court in making determinations on the best interests of the child, Costs associated with the experts may be awarded.

Justice Jones did not, however, award much of the Costs claimed for supervised access visits, holding that Costs incurred for supervised access visits did not bear a sufficient connection to the Action. Jones J. also refused to award Costs claimed for 15 contested Applications that were heard previously in the Provincial Court of Alberta. Although the matters were related, His Lordship held that it was not appropriate for a Court to award Costs in respect of a distinct Action heard by a different Court at an earlier time.

View CanLII Details