10.42: Actions within Provincial Court jurisdiction

Case Summary

The Plaintiff appealed a Judgment from the Provincial Court of Alberta. The Plaintiff had paid the Respondent Defendant $10,000.00 as a deposit for performance of services. The Respondent Defendant returned $1,972.09, deducting amounts for pooled damages and damages to or near the lot in question. The Plaintiff objected to the reduction and sued for its return. The Trial Judge dismissed the Action with Costs.

The Court held that standard of review on questions of law was correctness and that it would not interfere unless the Judge had made a palpable and overriding error.

The Court noted that the Applicant Plaintiff was self-represented and the Trial Judge had a special duty to provide assistance (R v Phillips, 2003 ABCA 4). After reviewing the Trial transcripts, the Court held that the Trial Judge had provided the required limited assistance to the Plaintiff and exercised proper judicial discretion. Second, the Court held that the contract, specifically, the performance deposit scheme, was legally enforceable. Finally, the Court held that there was no palpable and overriding error demonstrated by the Trial Judge with respect to the assessment of damages. The fact that the Trial Judge accepted the evidence of the Respondent Defendant was sufficient evidence to support the deductions.

The Court dismissed the Appeal and awarded costs on Schedule “C”. The Court applied Rule 10.42 to reduce the amount claimed to 75%. The Court also held that the Respondent Defendant would have Costs of the Appeal in the amount of $1,500.00 plus taxable disbursements.

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