CMB v AMB, 2022 ABKB 847


10.31: Court-ordered costs award

Case Summary

The Costs Endorsement addressed the Costs arising from a property-and-support Trial (the “Property and Support Trial”) and parenting Trial (the “Parenting Trial”) between a mother (the “Mother”) and a father (the “Father”). The Court determined that the Mother and Father would bear their own Costs for the Property and Support Trial, noting that overall success was evenly divided. The Court awarded $25,000 in Costs to the Father with respect to the Parenting Trial. Costs included the lead-up to the Parenting Trial, the applicable Schedule C activities, and any legal work associated with the Parenting Trial not falling under any of the Schedule C categories. 

The Court understood that with respect to the Parenting Trial, the impact of the Father’s self representing status was a threshold issue. The Court determined that Rule 10.31(5) was applicable. The Court reviewed the law with respect to Rule 10.31(5) and determined that the germane factors which impacted Costs in the circumstances were: the overall success of the Father, the Father’s self representation, actual legal costs for the time that the Father had a lawyer, the Father’s loss of employment during the Parenting Trial which the Court found was unrelated to the Parenting Trial, settlement offers made by the Father, none of which were matched or exceeded by the Parenting Trial outcome, and the sexual abuse allegations made against the Father.

The Court additionally noted that it was entitled to perform its own overall assessment of the reasonableness of Costs and that the ability to pay is typically not a factor when gauging Costs and awarded the Father Costs accordingly.

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