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

Case Summary

This was a Costs decision for a Special Chambers Application brought by the City of Calgary. The City sought to have Ms. Teulon’s land’s Certificate of Title cancelled, and a new Certificate of Title issued, excerpting out a disputed portion from the parcel’s legal description. The City’s Application was dismissed.

As a result of the City’s Application being dismissed, Ms. Teulon sought full indemnity Costs from the City. The City submitted that it should only pay Costs pursuant to Schedule C of the Rules of Court.

The Court noted that Rule 10.29 states that a successful party is entitled to Costs against an unsuccessful party. Rule 10.33 states the factors that the Court may consider when making a Costs award. In particular, the Court noted that Ms. Teulon was entirely successful in resisting the City’s claim, that Ms. Teulon was a bona fide purchaser for value, and that Ms. Teulon had done nothing to give rise to the Application.

One of the Rule 10.33 factors is “the importance of the issues”. The Court noted that the Rule does not say whether the importance of the issue should be considered from the perspective of legal precedent or from the perspective of the parties engaged in the litigation. Sidnell J noted that the Application had little legal precedential value, so the Court considered the perspective of the parties.

If the City was unsuccessful, then it would not have ownership of the disputed parcel and would not be able to rely on its road plan. However, Ms. Teulon was prepared to give the City access to the parcel for public infrastructure. If the City was successful, Ms. Teulon’s would lose her front yard, accounting for approximately 14% of the parcel.

The Court noted that in this Application, unlike in most claims for full indemnity costs, there was no allegation of misconduct, delay, or increased expense due to improper steps taken in the litigation. Ms. Teulon submitted that this Application was a rare and exceptional case where full indemnity costs are appropriate because only full indemnity costs can result in justice being done.

The Court noted that the circumstances for full indemnity costs are a “rare, exceptional or unusual” case and that full indemnity Costs are “the exception to the rule”.

Sidnell J found that the City’s Application, although not arising from an invalid expropriation, was somewhat similar to expropriation in that it concerned an individual litigant that had done no wrong and whose only connection is through owning the land. The individual litigant was merely reacting and required to pay legal bills incurred by being brought into the proceedings. This was a rare, exceptional, and unusual case where justice can be done only by awarding Costs to Ms. Teulon on a full indemnity basis.

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