Court Costs – Explained by Vancouver Divorce Lawyer

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Successful party in court may be entitled to court costs. Generally speaking, the amount of court costs is not your entire legal fees. It is calculated based on the tariffs in Supreme Court Family Rules. However, if you are the successful party, you could recover some of your legal fees.

Types of costs orders in Chambers – Explained by our Vancouver divorce lawyer

Here are few types of court costs orders that you can get in chambers:

  • 1. Costs. If your order says that you are entitled to costs, this will be interpreted as costs in the cause. This means that if you are successful at trial, you will get the costs.
  • 2. Costs in the cause. If your order says that you are entitled to costs in the cause, this means that if you are successful at trial, you will get the costs.
  • 3. Costs in any event of the cause. If your order says that you are entitled to costs in any event of the cause, this means that whether you win or lose at trial, you are entitled to your costs.
  • 4. Costs payable forthwith. If your order says that costs are payable forthwith, this means that the other side should pay your costs right away or within reasonable time. You will prepare your bill of costs and send it to the other side. If they agree to pay you as per your bill of costs, then great. Otherwise, you will need to set a registrar hearing. If your order does not include the words payable forthwith, the registrar will likely not address the issue until the conclusion of the trial.
  • 5. Special costs. If you get special costs, this means that you can recoup probably close to entirety of your legal fees. Special costs is not calculated based on the tariffs.

Court costs orders after trial – Explained by our Vancouver divorce lawyer

The person who is successful or substantially successful at trial, may be entitled to court costs. However, to get the costs, you need a court order for it. Again, this is calculated based on the tariffs in Supreme Court Family Rules. Some cases suggest that there should not be substantial orders for costs against self-litigants. However, in a recent Ontario decision, Kirby v. Kirby,  2019 ONSC 232 (CanLII), the court ordered a self-litigant to pay $150,000 in costs. Here is part of the decisions:

[13]            The proliferation of self-represented litigants in family law cases is here to stay.  I suspect that there are many reasons for that: cuts to legal aid services, the self-help resorted to on the world wide web, and (let us not be so naïve to ignore) the voluntary choice by some litigants to act for themselves because they think that the judge will be forced into being their advocate.

[14]            With respect to the latter category of self-represented litigants, it is time that we recognize that there are some (not most, maybe even not many) persons who can readily afford legal counsel but simply choose to act for themselves because they think that it will provide them a tactical edge in the courtroom.  It will cause the presiding judicial official to go overboard with assistance, not just procedurally but substantively, or so goes the rationale.

[15]            There is nothing wrong with self-representation.  What is wrong, though, is hijacking the proceeding at the expense of the other side (who has counsel) and then expecting mercy from the court when it comes to deciding costs.

[16]            We do not have two sets of rules and principles for costs in family litigation – one for those who hire lawyers and one for those who act for themselves.

[28]            My only trepidation in doing so is that Katherine is, indeed, mentally ill.  Her family physician’s evidence at trial confirms that.  I am not sure how much of Katherine’s unreasonableness is due to her psychological issues.  I am prepared to accept that some of it must be.

It appears the playing field in court is changing. The court is prepared to order costs against self litigants who voluntary choose not to hire a lawyer because they think that the judge will be their advocate. If you are going through separation or divorce and need legal representation contact our Vancouver divorce lawyers. We are here to help.