GRIMES v GOVERNORS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE, 2023 ABKB 432
4.29: Costs consequences of formal offer to settle
10.31: Court-ordered costs award
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award
10.9: Reasonableness of retainer agreements and charges subject to review
This was a Costs Decision following the dismissal of an Application for Judicial Review.
The Court began by surveying historical developments in the case law on Costs, including the Court of Appeal decisions of McAllister v Calgary (City), 2021 ABCA 25, Barkwell v McDonald, 2023 ABCA 87, and Barkwell v McDonald, 2023 ABCA 183, and the reconciliation of these decisions with Rules 10.9, 10.31, and 10.33.
Graesser J. concluded that Costs remain wholly within the discretion of the Court, but that, notwithstanding passages from the decisions surveyed, a departure from the tariff set out in Schedule C to the Rules should not typically occur absent exceptional circumstances.
Turning to the matter before the Court, Graesser J. noted that the University of Lethbridge had been entirely successful in responding to the Application for Judicial Review, and that the matter was not complex. Graesser J. also commented on the service of a settlement offer by the University: the offer was not in the form provided for under Rule 4.29, but could nevertheless influence a Costs Award. Ultimately, however, Graesser J. found that the offer did not contain a genuine compromise, and so it had no effect on the Costs Award.
In the result, Graesser J. awarded the University of Lethbridge Costs according to Column 1 of Schedule C, modified slightly to account for inflation.