10.29: General rule for payment of litigation costs
10.31: Court-ordered costs award
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award

Case Summary

This is a Costs Decision pertaining to several Applications brought in an Action. The Court first addressed whether costs should be awarded in the cause. The Court noted that Rules 10.29 and 10.31 apply where a party is “substantially successful in a proceeding”, highlighting that the party who has won in the litigation is “not only the litigant who has been totally successful on each aspect of the claim, but the litigant who has been substantially successful - the one who has enjoyed the greater success” (AE v TE, 2017 ABQB 674). The Court also noted that, while costs are typically awarded in a ‘pay as you go’ manner, Rule 10.31 allows the Court to depart from this standard and order ‘costs in the cause’ instead. The Court further noted that Rule 10.31(4) allows for a party liable to pay a costs award to set if off against an amount that party is entitled to receive.

The Court reviewed Rule 10.33, determining that only 10.33(f) was relevant in this case as one of the parties was late in filing costs submissions. Rule 10.33(f) allows a Court to vary a costs award when a party does not comply with the Rules or an Order.

Finally, the Court summarized the circumstances under which a multiplier may be added to a costs award, noting that a multiplier may be warranted where the trial is long and complex, and the quantum of damages claimed is significantly greater than $1.5 million. The Court declined to apply a multiplier in this case nothing that this was “simply a summary application, and the matter needs to go to trial.” The Court added that, in its view, a summary application that ‘front loads’ heavy legal costs on a party at the outset of litigation poses a risk to litigants who do not have deep pockets, adding that, as a matter of policy it would be inappropriate to award a significant multiplier in such circumstances.

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