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Basic Costs Principles in Alberta

In Alberta, and much of Canada, when a party loses an application or a lawsuit, that party will have to pay some costs. The Court in Sunshine Village Corporation v Boehnisch, 2021 ABQB 63 looked at general costs principles saying at paragraph 24:

[24] The Court’s determination of costs is highly discretionary: Abt Estate v Cold Lake Industrial Park GP Ltd, 2020 ABCA 133 at para 26, subject to a principled application of the factors set out in Rules 10.33(1) and (2):

In making a costs award, the Court may consider all or any of the following:

a) the result of the action and the degree of success of each party;

b) the amount claimed and the amount recovered;

c) the importance of the issues;

d) the complexity of the action;

e) the apportionment of liability;

f) the conduct of a party that tended to shorten the action; and

g) any other matter related to the question of reasonable and proper costs that the Court considers appropriate.

[25] The Rules provide guidance on forms of behaviour by litigants that might be relevant to the award of costs. Specifically, Rule 10.33(2) provides as follows:

In deciding whether to impose, deny or vary an amount in a costs award, the Court may consider all or any of the following:

(a) the conduct of a party that was unnecessary or that unnecessarily lengthened or delayed the action or any stage or step of the action;

(b) a party's denial of or refusal to admit anything that should have been admitted;

(c) whether a party started separate actions for claims that should have been filed in one action or whether a party unnecessarily separated that party's defense from that of another party;

(d) whether any application, proceeding or step in an action was unnecessary, improper or a mistake;

(e) an irregularity in a commencement document, pleading, affidavit, notice, prescribed form or document;

(f) a contravention of or non-compliance with these rules or an order; and

(g) whether a party has engaged in misconduct.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for advice in these matters.

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