RD v LWD, 2019 ABQB 966


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 Decision dealt with the parties’ entitlement to Costs following the reasons for Decision respecting retroactive and ongoing child and spousal support and the division of matrimonial property.

Ho J. noted that the parties agreed that Costs should be awarded in accordance with Column 4 of Schedule C, but could not agree as to which one was the “successful party”. Pursuant to Rule 10.29, the successful party is entitled to a Costs award against the unsuccessful party, subject to the Court’s overall discretion under Rule 10.31. Her Ladyship noted that in family matters, Costs are generally not awarded by issue; instead, success “means substantial success, not absolute success”. After reviewing her Decision and the parties’ written submissions, Ho J. concluded that while the father had been successful on some issues, the mother was the substantially successful party.

Although Ho J. determined that the mother had been substantially successful, Her Ladyship noted that under Rule 10.33, several factors may be considered in awarding Costs, including whether either party unnecessarily delayed or lengthened the Action, refused to admit something that should have been admitted, or any other matter relevant to the issue of Costs. Ho J. noted that the mother had argued against the father’s claimed exemption, even though his evidence was “particularly clear and overwhelmingly convincing”. Additionally, prior to Trial, the mother withdrew several requests for relief, which the father had already spent time and effort preparing for. The father had also served Formal Offers on the mother, although Ho J. was not prepared to conclude that he had “beaten” them at Trial.

Ho J. ultimately exercised her discretion under Rule 10.31 to award $85,000 in Costs payable by the father to the mother, rather than the $129,907.03 sought by the mother.

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