Tilleman J

10.31: Court-ordered costs award
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award

Case Summary

The Plaintiff, Northern Air Charter (P.R.) Inc. (“Northern Air”), unsuccessfully sought an injunction to be allowed to continue its air business relative to a government request for air services proposal (the “Application”). The overall commercial value of the Application approximated one billion dollars. The Defendants, Alberta Health Services (“AHS”) and Can-West Corporate Air Charters Ltd. (“Can-West”), sought elevated party and party Costs for successfully responding to the Application.

Tilleman J. reviewed Rules 10.31 and 10.33 and noted that it is well-settled law that Trial Judges have a wide discretion to order Costs and that this discretion extends to awarding “any amount that the Court considers to be appropriate in the circumstances, including … an indemnity to a party for that party’s lawyer’s charges”. Justice Tilleman highlighted that a Trial Judge’s discretion must be exercised judicially and in accordance with established principles which includes the enumerated considerations in Rule 10.33.

Tilleman J. reviewed the relevant jurisprudence and, after considering Rules 10.31 and 10.33, concluded that: 1) AHS and Can-West were fully successful, 2) the issues argued were on the billion dollar end of public importance, and 3) the actions and motions within the Application were complex. Accordingly, Justice Tilleman found that AHS and Can-West be awarded Costs on an enhanced basis, as claimed, which amounted to roughly half of what full-indemnity Costs would have been.

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