In most courtroom litigation in Ontario there is a significant chance that the losing side may be liable for a portion of the other side’s legal costs. The possibility of costs increases the likelihood that parties to a dispute will settle a matter before going to trial and having to pay significant legal fees.
The recent case before the Supreme Court involved a dispute before the Tribunal where a former member of the Canadian Forces was awarded $4,000 at the Tribunal but had to pay $196,000 in costs to obtain this award. Initially, the Tribunal made an award of $47,000 in costs but this was eventually overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court affirmed that the costs award should not have been made.
Even before the Supreme Court decision the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal generally did not award costs. The Supreme Court decision clarifies that unless specifically permitted to so by law, Human Rights Tribunals in Canada should not be making costs awards.
Based in Kanata, the law firm of Connolly Nichols Allan & Snelling provides corporate & commercial, real estate, family, and civil litigation services (including employment, personal injury, and insurance law) in Ottawa and the surrounding area.