HO v LAU, 2023 ABKB 15


10.2: Payment for lawyer’s services and contents of lawyer’s account
10.31: Court-ordered costs award

Case Summary

The successful Applicant sought full-indemnity Costs of the proceedings from the unsuccessful Respondent. The Respondent, in contrast, called for party-and-party Costs under Schedule C. The Court rejected both positions, instead awarding Costs under Schedule C, but with a multiplier of 2, and a “complex chambers application” adjustment. One of the issues that the Court considered was the relevance of the Applicant’s failure to provide a Bill of Costs or other evidence of actual Costs. The Applicant had not provided a Bill of Costs or any other evidence of solicitor-client fees.

Lema J. held that the Applicant had a practical obligation to put its best foot forward by providing its accounts or other evidence of its legal costs, which the Applicant failed to do. The Court adopted the reasoning in McAllister v Calgary (City), 2021 ABCA 25, wherein the Court held that where a Judge awards Costs as a percentage of assessed Costs, the assessment may require a consideration of the factors in Rules 10.2(1) and 10.31(1)(a). Where a Party seeks solicitor-client Costs, the Party has a practical onus to provide statements of account or other evidence of its legal costs to enable scrutiny of those Costs.

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