BERMAN v BERMAN, 2021 ABQB 933
10.31: Court-ordered costs award
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award
10.50: Costs imposed on lawyer
14.59: Formal offers to settle
This is a costs decision pursuant to an Application decided in favour of the Defendant. The Defendant asked for enhanced costs, citing a Calderbank offer to settle, and costs against the Plaintiff’s lawyer personally.
With respect to Calderbank offers, the Court cited Bruen v University Calgary, 2019 ABCA 275, where the Court stated that, while Rule 14.59 “provides for the doubling of costs when a formal offer to settle an appeal is made, and the party making the offer achieves greater success on the appeal,” informal offers, such as Calderbank offers, “are also relevant to costs, although doubling is not automatic or presumed…the court has a wide discretion…”.
Labrenz J then determined that, while the Calderbank offer supported some increase in the award of costs, doubling was not warranted.
With respect to costs against the Plaintiff’s counsel, a costs award against a lawyer is guided by Rule 10.50 which requires that a lawyer must have had engaged in serious misconduct, such as an act that seriously undermines the authority of the Courts, or serious interference with the administration of justice. A mere mistake by a lawyer or an error in judgment does not justify a costs sanction. Justice Labrenz found that an award of personal costs against the Plaintiff’s lawyer was not justified, despite Applications that were “ill-founded and misguided.”
Finally, the Court cited Rules 10.31 and 10.33 in awarding a lump sum costs award to the Defendant in the amount of $5,000, which the Court then increased to $7,500 considering the Defendant’s Calderbank offer.View CanLII Details