10.31: Court-ordered costs award
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award
10.42: Actions within Provincial Court jurisdiction

Case Summary

This is a costs decision. Justice Henderson had previously dismissed an Appeal brought by the Respondent in this decision.

The Applicant, who was the successful party, sought costs in relation to the Appeal of 75% of double Column 1 of Schedule C of the Rules. The successful party cited Rule 10.42 which restricts costs to not more than 75% of Column 1, where an Action is brought in the Court of Queen’s Bench, but where the amount sued for is within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court. However, it sought double costs because of the two Calderbank offers it made to the Respondent.

The Court cited Rule 10.31, emphasizing the Court’s broad discretion in awarding costs. The Court added that, a costs award made with reference to Schedule C is only one of several options open to a Court in awarding costs to a successful party. The Court further added that awarding a percentage of assessed costs is expressly permitted.

The Court then applied the factors to consider in making a costs award, as delineated in Rule 10.33: (1) the Applicant was entirely successful on the Appeal; (2) the amount claimed by the Respondent was very small; (3) the issues at stake had “no particular importance”; (4) there was no complexity to the issues; (5) there was no apportionment of liability; and (6) neither party took any steps to shorten the proceedings.

Rule 10.33 also allows a Court to consider “any other matter” related to reasonable costs. Consequently, the Court here also considered that: (1) the Respondent suffered from a disability, was on AISH, and had limited means; (2) the Respondent was a self-represented litigant; (3) this was Appeal from the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS), a tribunal established in a way to enable self-represented litigants to have access to justice in an efficient way; (4) the costs awarded by the RTDRS were $75; and (5) the Calderbank offer expressly told the Respondent that if she did not accept the offer, then the Applicant would seek costs of $7,087.50.

The Court stated that, considering all of the circumstances, costs at the level sought by the Applicant were not appropriate. The Court added that, if costs at that level were granted, it would have a chilling effect on those seeking to Appeal from a decision of the RTDRS.

The Court concluded that $150 would be an appropriate award for costs. The Court added that, since the Applicant made a successful Calderbank offer, the Cost award should be doubled to $300.

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