GENDRE v FORT MACLEOD (TOWN), 2016 ABQB 111
10.31: Court-ordered costs award
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award
SCHEDULE C: Tariff of Recoverable Fees
The Mayor of Fort Macleod sought to set aside bylaws and resolutions passed by the Town Council removing his powers as Mayor. The Mayor’s Judicial Review Application was dismissed and the Town Council sought Costs on an enhanced scale. The Town Council requested five times Column 5 Costs, in order to reimburse the Town Council for half of its legal fees. The Mayor argued that double Column 1 was an appropriate award of Costs.
Justice Nixon referred to Rules 10.31 and 10.33 as the applicable Rules which govern the Court’s discretion in awarding Costs. The main factors in choosing the appropriate column in public interest litigation are the importance of the proceeding to each of the parties and the community, and the complexity of the proceedings.
Although the Mayor argued that he pursued the Judicial Review Application for the principles of democracy, he had a significant personal interest in the outcome as the core of the dispute related to his authority as Mayor. Nixon J. held that the Application was not fundamentally public interest litigation; however, the matter was of great importance to the parties and the community. The key issue at stake was the Town Council’s ability to govern, and its authority to do so. The Town Council incurred significant legal costs in its defence, but the Application itself was only two half-days. Further, the conduct of the parties was not out of the ordinary. Taking into account all of the factors, Justice Nixon held that three times Column 3 was an appropriate Costs award in favour of the Town Council.