VLK v CJG, 2021 ABQB 513


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 Judgment considered Costs payable following a Trial to determine parenting issues in a family law dispute. In the underlying Judgment, the Court determined that the Plaintiff and Defendant should have divided parenting time, with each parent having the right to make particular decisions respecting their children’s upbringing (so-called “parallel parenting”). Both the Plaintiff and Defendant claimed success and both asserted entitlement to Costs, pursuant to Rule 10.29.

Considering the appropriate Costs award, and to whom it should be granted, the Court noted its broad discretion, pursuant to Rule 10.31 and various considerations enumerated in Rule 10.33, including degree of success, the importance and complexity of the issues and conduct of the parties.

In awarding Costs in favour of the Defendant, the Court held that, while the underlying judgment awarded “parallel parenting” rather than “equally divided parenting”, as sought by the Defendant, this result was generally consistent with the Defendant’s request, and inconsistent with Plaintiff’s opposition to shared parenting. As the Plaintiff was unsuccessful in substance, Costs were awarded in favour of the Defendant.

In assessing quantum of the award, the Court noted the Defendant’s Calderbank offer, the Plaintiff’s litigation conduct and the appropriateness of three expert witnesses, whose fees were claimed as part of the Defendant’s Costs. Noting that the Calderbank offer “was virtually identical to [the] judgment”, the Court granted double Costs for steps taken following the offer’s delivery. The Court similarly granted recovery of all expert fees, notwithstanding the Plaintiff’s opposition. In so doing, the Court noted that, while the Plaintiff’s inflexibility and other conduct did not justify enhanced Costs, the Plaintiff’s actions

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