BURN v BURN, 2018 ABQB 275


10.53: Punishment for civil contempt of Court

Case Summary

The Respondent, Chantal Burn, was held in contempt of Court following an Application by Trevor Burn. Mr. Burn sought both solicitor-client Costs and “punitive Costs” following the contempt Application but then deferred his request for solicitor-client Costs until Trial.

Bokenfohr J. clarified that the concept of a separate, punitive Costs award does not exist. A Costs award can be issued according to the tariff in the Rules, on a full indemnity basis, or somewhere in between. Though Costs awarded on one of these bases can have a punitive element, there is no separate category of Costs for punitive purposes.

Justice Bokenfohr noted that a monetary award against a party found in contempt of Court must be ordered as a fine pursuant to Rule 10.53(1)(c). Since Mr. Burn had not sought such a fine under Rule 10.53, no fine was imposed. Justice Bokenfohr held that the matter of Costs from the contempt Application would be reserved for the Trial Judge.

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