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

Case Summary

This Decision determined the appropriate Costs Award after the underlying litigation had concluded. The Plaintiff lodged a discrimination complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”). The parties were unable to agree as to Costs after Justice Devlin dismissed the Defendant’s Appeal of a decision of the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”).

The Plaintiff sought solicitor-client Costs alleging inexcusable conduct on the part of the Defendant before the Tribunal heard the matter. The Plaintiff was a ski patroller employed by the Defendant and was not rehired. The Defendant initially claimed that the Plaintiff was unfit for the position but later asserted that it gave the Plaintiff the chance to prove that she was fit. The Defendant’s initial position led the Acting Director of the Commission to dismiss the Action and the Plaintiff requested a review under section 26 of the Alberta Human Rights Act, RSA 200, c A-25.5 (the “HRTA”). The claim was sent to the Tribunal for review, but the Plaintiff had to pay for this review according to section 29 of the HRTA. The Tribunal ultimately found in favour of the Plaintiff.

Although the value of the claim placed it in Column 1 of Schedule C, the Court awarded Column 3 Costs. As the successful party, the Plaintiff was entitled to Costs per Rule 10.29(1). The Court noted that Costs decisions are highly discretionary, subject to the principled application of the facts set out in Rule 10.33(1) and (2). In awarding higher Costs, the Court noted the complexity of the litigation and the Defendant’s meritless Appeal. The Court also noted that the Defendant’s conduct resulted in the Plaintiff having to carry the costs of litigation personally rather than being represented by the Commission.

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