14.88: Cost awards

Case Summary

Justice Wakeling had previously denied the Applicant’s Application for a stay of two previous Orders and the Respondent sought enhanced Costs under Rule 14.88.

The Applicant and Respondent were previously married and had a daughter (the “Child”). The Respondent was granted an Order allowing her to relocate to Texas with the Child (the “Relocation Order”). Near the end of the Applicant’s summer parenting time, the Applicant informed the Respondent that he would not return the Child to the Respondent. The Respondent was granted an Order enforcing the terms of the Relocation Order (the “Enforcement Order”). Justice Wakeling had previously dismissed the Applicant’s Application to set aside the Relocation Order and the Enforcement Order but did not address Costs.

Justice Wakeling first considered whether the Respondent was out of time to seek enhanced Costs under Rule 14.88. While Rule 14.88 does not specify a time limit to request direction on Costs, the Rules of Court Committee’s information note provides a two-month deadline. Justice Wakeling determined that the information note had no legal effect but noted the opinion of the Rules of Court Committee should be given considerable weight. Justice Wakeling agreed with the two-month window except where the adverse party agrees to an extension or the applying party has a compelling reason for missing the deadline. While the Respondent did not have a compelling reason for missing the deadline, the Applicant agreed to submit written submissions more than two months after the underlying Decision was issued.

As a result, Justice Wakeling considered the Respondent’s request for enhanced Costs. The Court awarded enhanced Costs because the Applicant had ignored the Relocation Order when he refused to return the Child to the Respondent in Texas. Justice Wakeling noted that the Applicant should have applied for an Order relieving him of his obligation to send the Child to Texas. However, the Court limited its award of enhanced Costs to the issues on Appeal. The Respondent did not appeal the Decision on Costs in the Enforcement Order. As such, the Court determined that it had no jurisdiction to award Costs to the Respondent for her successful Application for the Enforcement Order.

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