CAG v SG, 2013 ABQB 12


10.29: General rule for payment of litigation costs
10.31: Court-ordered costs award
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award
SCHEDULE C: Tariff of Recoverable Fees

Case Summary

Following a Judgment on a family law matter, the Parties were also directed to make written submissions respecting Costs. The Director of Maintenance and Enforcement and Child Support Services suggested that no Costs should be awarded against the Director, citing the decision in Budge v Budge, 2010 ABQB 608. The Court stated that this case suggested that when the Crown was a regular litigant, it paid Costs like any other litigant. However, the Crown was not characterized as a “regular litigant” when it was acting in a “child support environment to address the interests of the public and the children”. In such a situation, it was only appropriate to grant Costs against the Director if there were special or unusual circumstances.

SG sought reimbursement for Costs associated with travelling to Calgary, and CAG sought reimbursement for legal services. Justice Jones noted that fees, determined in accordance with Division 2 of Schedule C of the Rules, would, as they related to matters that did not involve a monetary amount, be determined in accordance with Column 1. In this case, monetary amounts were in issue, however, the Parties were not seeking Costs computed in accordance with the various line item components of the columns under Division 2. Instead, each simply specified a total amount in respect of which they sought reimbursement.

Jones J. determined that each party should bear their own Costs. This finding was based on several factors. First, pursuant to Rule 10.29, SG was substantially successful in achieving his objectives and as such, was entitled to a Costs award against the unsuccessful party. That being said, Rule 10.29(a) provided that it was subject to the Court’s discretion to award Costs under Rule 10.31, which was to take into account the factors set out under Rule 10.33. Jones J. considered the factors under Rule 10.33 and concluded that SG could have, in light of his medical condition, asked to participate in the Application before the Court by video link, which would have made it unnecessary for him to travel to Calgary. SG was required to bear the Costs incurred from travelling to Calgary because they were avoidable.

Jones J. also noted that CAG’s much greater cost outlays were incurred so she could properly advance her argument that, among other things, earlier Orders which denied SG’s request for extinguishment of arrears were res judicata. This issue was not canvassed in previous Decisions and SG advanced no argument to illuminate this point; therefore, with reference to Rule 10.33(1)(g), Jones J. held that it was appropriate to recognized CAG’s contributions to the resolution of the issue by requiring SG to bear responsibility for his own Costs. The Court concluded by holding that SG and CG would bear their own Costs and no Costs were to be awarded in favour of or against the Director.

View CanLII Details