ZHANG v LI, 2023 ABKB 38


3.72: Consolidation or separation of claims and actions
4.29: Costs consequences of formal offer to settle
10.31: Court-ordered costs award

Case Summary

The Appellants appealed a Decision to consolidate divorce and civil proceedings pursuant to Rule 3.72. The Appellants improperly named a lawyer who was involved in a transaction related to the civil proceedings as a Respondent.

The Court noted that consolidation under Rule 3.72 is discretionary and reviewable on the standard of reasonableness. The Court found that the decision to consolidate the Actions was reasonable and dismissed the Appeal.

Turning to Costs, the Court noted that the successful Party on Appeal is generally entitled to Costs. The Court further observed that the Respondent had served a Formal Offer to Settle pursuant to Rule 4.29 which provides that such an Offer, if not accepted, entitles the offering Party to double Costs for all steps taken after service of the Offer if a more favourable Judgment is obtained. The Respondent’s Formal Offer was for a dismissal of the Appeal by consent on a without Costs basis.

The Court observed that prior case law states that an Offer to forego Costs can constitute an identifiable compromise sufficient to trigger the consequences of Rule 4.29.

The Court therefore ordered Costs in favour of the Respondent, and double Costs in favour of the Respondent for steps taken after the date of the Formal Offer. With respect to the improperly named lawyer, the Court awarded Costs in his favour notwithstanding that he was self-represented on this Appeal, pursuant to Rule 10.31(5).

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