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Litigation in Alberta: Costs

We are often approached by people in litigation matters who under the false impression that at the end of the lawsuit they will receive all of their legal fees. Many people do not really understand how costs work.

In Alberta, lawsuits can proceed under 2 tracks. For amounts under $50,000 claims can be brought in the Provincial Court of Alberta. For claims over $50,000, claims are brought in the Court of Queen's Bench.

Costs are basically awards which are to partially compensate winning parties for bringing their lawsuit. Unfortunately, they do not completely cover legal fees. Hiring a lawyer in a lawsuit can be an expensive undertaking.

The Provincial Court has smaller claims, and usually its costs awards are substantially less. The Court of Queen's Bench sets out its costs in Schedule "C" of the Rules of Court. The Courts can then vary these costs. Practically, costs awards tend to range from 10% to 30% of the actual legal costs. In certain circumstances such as an out of control litigation process or inappropriate tactics in litigation, the winning party can receive much more, or even complete reimbursement of legal costs. This is relatively rare, however.

If you have questions about how costs work in Alberta please feel free to contact us.

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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