GAJJAR v AULAKH, 2016 ABQB 659

PENTELECHUK J

4.24: Formal offers to settle
10.31: Court-ordered costs award
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award

Case Summary

The parties each claimed Costs after the conclusion of a Trial that dealt with matrimonial property division, spousal support, and parenting issues. No Formal Offers to settle under Rule 4.24 were served. Pentelechuk J. considered the enumerated factors under Rule 10.33 in the context of the issues heard at Trial.

Justice Pentelechuk noted that, at first glance, it appeared that the parties had mixed success, and should bear their own Costs. However, Rule 10.33(2) sets out additional factors that the Court may consider when imposing, denying, or varying a Costs award. In this case, the Plaintiff was substantially successful at Trial on the parenting issues, and she also made an offer to settle the remaining issues for the amount sought by her former spouse. Had the parties resolved some of these issues, Trial time would have been reduced significantly. However, there was a lack of clarity in the offer made, and the Court concluded that it was appropriate to award the Plaintiff with one-half of her proposed Bill of Costs. The Court disallowed a fee claimed for a judicial dispute resolution brief, as Rule 10.31(2)(c) does not provide for Costs related to a judicial dispute resolution process. The Plaintiff was awarded Costs including fees and disbursements.

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