10.38: Assessment officer’s authority
10.39: Reference to Court
10.41: Assessment officer’s decision

Case Summary

The Plaintiff in a foreclosure Action obtained an Order confirming the sale of a property, and vesting title to the mortgaged lands. The Order provided for “costs on a solicitor and client basis”. A Bill of Costs was submitted by the solicitor for the Plaintiff to the Assessment Officer for approval. The originally submitted Bill of Costs was not supported by Affidavit evidence. The Assessment Officer, pursuant to Rule 10.38, directed that this evidence be produced, and referred the matter to the Court for an assessment of the reasonableness of the Bill of Costs, pursuant to Rule 10.39.


Master Schulz noted that, on references to the Court, the Master stands in the shoes of the Assessment Officer and applies the same standards and reasoning. Rule 10.41 awards Costs for steps which are “reasonable and proper”. Where Costs are to be paid by a third party, reasonable Costs are those which are necessary for the proper presentation of the case. Master Schulz held that necessary steps are those which increase the likelihood of the lender’s security being protected, and those which would bring the Action to a conclusion. Master Schulz noted that a Bill of Costs must be supported by proper evidence, which includes: copies of invoices for disbursements incurred and time spent; a copy of the Retainer Agreement and tariff (if applicable); and confirmation that an account has been rendered to the client and that the client has agreed to pay the account in full, regardless of whether the opposing party pays it. Such evidence must be set out in Affidavit form.

At the Hearing, counsel for the Plaintiff sought the Costs incurred in having to appear before the Court on the reference, which is permitted under Rule 10.41(2)(b). Master Schulz, however, noted that the reference would not have been necessary had the proper evidence been presented to the assessment officer. It was therefore inappropriate to award costs incurred as a result of the Plaintiff’s counsel’s own omission.

View CanLII Details