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Court Costs

Tariff B - Unit Value 04/2016

Overview

A party is eligible to receive reimbursement from an opposing party for costs associated with a Court proceeding if an order or judgment of the Court awards costs. Costs may also be assessed as a result of a Notice of Discontinuance (see Rule 402).

To request an assessment of costs, a party shall file a Bill of Costs according to Part 11 and Tariff B of the Federal Courts Rules.

An assessment of costs may not be required if the Court awards a set dollar amount for costs or an agreement concerning the amount of costs is reached by the parties.

The materials below explain the procedure for filing a Bill of Costs and obtaining an appointment with an assessment officer of the Court.

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. Rule 400(1) grants the Court full discretionary power over the amount and allocation of costs and the determination by whom they are to be paid. Rule 405 states that costs shall be assessed by an assessment officer.

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

Obtaining an appointment for an assessment

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 or any other document giving rise to the party’s entitlement to costs. The preparation of a Bill of Costs is covered below.

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

  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, proposing disposition in writing, should accompany the filing of the Bill of Costs. The assessment officer will issue directions setting a timetable for the service and filing of written materials.

To obtain a returnable date for an oral hearing of an assessment of costs, a covering letter to the Registry, proposing available dates for the assessment, should accompany the filing of the Bill of Costs. The assessment officer will review the proposed dates and confirm a date for the appointment. Once an appointment is scheduled by the assessment officer, a Notice of Appointment is 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 of the Notice of Appointment and Bill of Costs on all other interested parties must be available in order for the assessment to proceed.

Preparing a Bill of Costs

A Bill of Costs may include claims for assessable services and disbursements.

Assessable Services

Assessable services are the work performed by a solicitor.

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". Column III is the mid-range of the range of unit values allowable.

Party-and-party costs are intended to partially reimburse a litigant for the legal fees paid to advance the litigation. 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.

In exceptional circumstances, the Court may award costs on a solicitor and client basis. An award of this type is intended to reimburse a litigant at a level approaching full indemnity. Under this circumstance, a party may not be limited to the Items listed in the table of Tariff B.

Tariff B Section 1 (2) states that “a Bill of Costs shall indicate the assessable services, 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 subject to GST/HST, but in some provinces, legal fees 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.

Pursuant to Tariff B section 4, the Unit Value as at April 1, 2014 is $140.

Disbursements

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

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

Section 1(4) provides that disbursements must be supported by evidence and that the expense was reasonable to the litigation.

Disbursements can include (charges for photocopies, courier, expert witness, travel, etc.

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.

Sample Bill of Costs

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

Court No.

FEDERAL COURT OF APPEAL

Between:

Name of party

Plaintiff/Appellant

- and -

Name of party

Respondent

Bill of Costs

Fees:

Item Assessment Service Column III Units Off Allowed

17

Preparation, filing and service of notice of appeal

1

18

Preparation of appeal book

1

19

Memorandum of fact and law

7

22(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 73 units x $130.00 per unit = $9,490.00
GST at 5% = $474.50
Total fees: = $9,964.50

Disbursements:

Item Amounts Claimed Off Allowed

Transcripts

$2,107.11

Photocopies and printing appeal books and service documents

$1,710.00

Couriers

$219.51


Total disbursements = $4,036.62
Total fees and disbursements = $14,001.12
Assessed and allowed at $ ___________
Dated this _______ day of _________, 20___

_______________________
Assessment Officer

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

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 assessment of costs. It should be noted that motions to review assessment of costs are heard by a judge of the Federal Court, not the Federal Court of Appeal.

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

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Date Modified: 2015-09-09