Filing a Bill of Costs / Assessment of Costs

For further information please contact your nearest Registry office.

Overview

In order for a party to be eligible to receive reimbursement from an opposing party for certain costs associated with a Court proceeding, costs must have been awarded to that party by the Court. If an agreement cannot be reached between the parties as to the amount of costs to be paid, the party awarded costs may request that costs be assessed by an assessment officer. A Bill of Costs must be filed according to Part 11 of the Federal Courts Rules and with reference to the amounts allowable under Tariff B.
The materials below explain the procedure for filing a Bill of Costs and obtaining an appointment with an assessment officer of the Court.

[1] Authority

Part 11 of the Federal Courts Rules sets out the rules relating to the awarding of court costs between the parties to a proceeding.

Tariff B of the Federal Courts Rules outlines counsel fees and disbursements allowable on assessment.

[2] Obtaining an appointment for an assessment

In order to obtain an appointment for an assessment of costs there are a few simple steps to be followed.

Rule 406(1) states that a party entitled to costs may obtain an appointment for an assessment by filing a Bill of Costs and a copy of the decision giving rise to the party’s entitlement to costs, together with a draft Notice of Appointment to be prepared in the format set out in Item [3] below. The preparation of a Bill of Costs is covered in Item [4] below.

The decision giving rise to the entitlement for costs may be an order or judgment of the Court. The decision must mention an award of costs. Costs may also be awarded as a result of a Notice of Discontinuance (see Rule 402).

A party requesting an appointment for an assessment of a Bill of Costs may request an assessment:

  1. in writing
  2. in person
  3. by teleconference
  4. by videoconference

If an assessment on the basis of written representations is requested, a covering letter to the Registry must accompany the filing of the Bill of Costs proposing disposition in writing. The assessment officer will issue directions setting a timetable for the service and filing of written materials.

You may obtain a returnable date for a Notice of Appointment for assessment of costs by sending a letter to the Registry with proposed dates. The assessment officer will review your proposed dates and then confirm a date for the appointment. Once an appointment is scheduled by the assessment officer, the date is inserted into the Notice of Appointment which is then issued by the Registry, to the parties.

When a Notice of Appointment is issued, the party requesting the assessment of costs must serve the Notice of Appointment on the opposing party(ies) and provide proof of service to the Registry.

Rule 406(2) states that a Notice of Appointment for assessment and the bill of costs to be assessed shall be served on every other interested party at least 10 days before the date fixed for the assessment.

Proof of service, confirming service of the Notice of Appointment and Bill of Costs on all other interested parties, must be available in order for the assessment to proceed.

[3] Notice of Appointment

A Notice of Appointment for assessment of costs may be submitted in the following format with the necessary changes to reflect the status of the moving party (i.e. Plaintiff, Applicant, Appellant, Defendant or Respondent):


Court No. _________

FEDERAL COURT

Between:

Name of party

Plaintiff/Applicant/Appellant

- and -

Name of party

Defendant/Respondent

Notice of Appointment for Assessment of Costs

I HEREBY APPOINT:

Date: ________________
Time: ________________
Place: ________________

for the assessment of the Defendant’s costs in this matter.

Dated this ________ day of ________, 20___

________________________
Assessment Officer

To the Plaintiff
Solicitor of record: full firm name and address for service and telephone number

Taken out by the Defendant
Solicitor of record: full firm name and address for service and telephone number


[4] Preparing a Bill of Costs

When preparing a Bill of Costs there are several things to keep in mind.

Tariff B Section 1 (2) states that a bill of costs shall indicate the assessable service, the column and the number of units sought in accordance with the table to Tariff B and, where the service is based on a number of hours, shall indicate the number of hours claimed and be supported by evidence thereof.

Assessable services are the work performed by a solicitor. For more detailed information about assessable services, see item [6], below.

Legal services are subject to GST, but in some provinces, legal services are provincial sales tax exempt. Whether or not provincial sales tax may be claimed should be confirmed with the province prior to preparing a Bill of Costs.

A party to a proceeding is not able to claim assessable services as “Counsel fees” for the time that the party personally spends on litigation.

Tariff B section 2 (1) states that on an assessment, the assessment officer shall determine assessable costs by applying the formula

A × B + C

Where
A is
(a) the number of units allocated to each assessable service, or
(b) where the service is based on a number of hours, the number of units allocated to that service multiplied by the number of hours;

B is the unit value as established in section 3 and adjusted in accordance with section 4; and

C is the amount of assessable disbursements.

A sample Bill of Costs is included at Item [5] below.

A Bill of Costs prepared by a lay litigant should include a total of the disbursements (C) spent to complete the litigation. Assessable services should not be included unless legal fees were paid to a solicitor for work performed to advance the litigation.

Pursuant to Tariff B section 4, the Unit Value as at April 1, 2009 is $130.

You may click on the link below to obtain the current Unit Value pursuant to Tariff B section 4:

­ Unit Value

[5] Sample Bill of Costs

The following is a sample bill of costs in an acceptable format:


Court No.

FEDERAL COURT
Between:

Name of Party

Plaintiff/Applicant/Appellant

And

Name of Party

Defendant/Respondent

Bill of Costs

Fees:
Item Assessment Service Column III Units Off Allowed
2

Statement of Defence and counterclaim

7
13(a)

Preparation for trial

5

13(b)

Preparation for trial per 2nd and 3rd days
of trial x 3 units per day

6

14(a)

Attendance by 1st counsel
6 hours x 3 units per hour, November 6, 2008
6 hours x 3 units per hour, November 7, 2008
7 hours x 3 units per hour, November 8, 2008

57

25

Services after Judgment

1

26

Assessment of Costs

6

Subtotal 82 units x $130.00 per unit = $10,660.00
GST at 5% = $533.00
Total fees: = $11,193.00

Disbursements:
Item Amounts Claimed Off Allowed

Court reporter attendance fees and
transcripts, for Plaintiff's and Defendant's discovery

$3,107.11

Registry fees: subpoenas and
counterclaim: $60 + $150.00

$210.00

Expert report A.L. Brown

$4,179.51

Total disbursements = $7,496.62
Total fees and disbursements = $18,689.62
Assessed and allowed at $ ___________
Dated this _______ day of _________, 20___

_______________________
Assessment Officer

__________________________________________
(Name, address and phone number of moving party)


[6] Assessable Services (Fees)

Rule 407 states that unless the Court orders otherwise, party-and-party costs shall be assessed in accordance with column III of the table to Tariff B.

Party-and-party costs are intended to partially reimburse a litigant for the legal fees paid to advance the litigation. Column III is the mid-range of the range of unit values allowable.

There are numerous decisions which address assessable services. In the case Starlight v. Canada [2001] F.C.J. No. 1376, it was held:

“…each item is assessable in its own circumstances and it is not necessary to use the same point throughout in the range for items as they occur in the litigation. If items are a function of a number of hours, the same unit value need not be allowed for each hour particularly if the characteristics of the hearing vary throughout its duration. In this bill of costs, the lower end of the range for item 5 and the upper end of the range for item 6 are possible results. Some items with limited ranges, such as item 14, required general distinctions between an upper and lower assignment in the range for the service rendered.”

Unless otherwise directed by the Court, a party may claim any number of units for a particular service, within the unit range of Column III.

[7] Disbursements

Tariff B section 1 (3) states that a bill of costs shall include disbursements, including

(a) payments to witnesses under Tariff A; and
(b) any service, sales, use or consumption taxes paid or payable on counsel fees or disbursements allowed under this Tariff.

Disbursements must be supported by evidence that the expense was reasonable and essential to the litigation.

Tariff B section 1 (4) states that no disbursement, other than fees paid to the Registry, shall be assessed or allowed under this Tariff unless it is reasonable and it is established by affidavit or by the solicitor appearing on the assessment that the disbursement was made or is payable by the party.

It should be remembered that the less the amount of evidence provided to the assessment officer, the more a party seeking assessment is subject to the assessment officer's discretion.

[8] Review of Assessment

Rule 414 states that a party who is dissatisfied with an assessment of an assessment officer who is not a judge may, within 10 days after the assessment, serve and file a notice of motion to request that a judge of the Federal Court review the award of costs.

Part 7 of the Federal Courts Rules provides for motions to the Court.

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Date Modified: 2015-11-20