Assessment of Costs
You may have your costs assessed (reviewed and calculated) by a Registrar of the Supreme Court. This is also known as having your bill of costs “taxed”.
This means that you and the other party will go to a hearing and go through the bill of costs with the Registrar. At the end of the assessment the Registrar will sign a certificate of costs (Form 64) that you can file in the court registry and enforce as if it were a judgment.
Getting a Hearing to Assess Your Costs
You can make an appointment for a hearing by calling the court registry where the action was started and asking the Supreme Court scheduler for a date for an assessment of costs. As a courtesy to the opposing party, you should set the hearing date at a time when the opposing party is available. If you do not, the opposing party may apply for an adjournment to a time when they are available.
When you call the registry to set the date for the assessment of costs, you will need to know the name of your action and the Supreme Court file number. After the registry has given you a date for the assessment of costs, file an appointment in Form 49 of the Supreme Court Rules (which must attach your bills of costs in Form 62) at the court registry to confirm the date.
File the original appointment (with bill of costs attached) with the court, plus one copy for yourself and the party who has been ordered to pay your costs.
A filed copy of the appointment and any affidavits relating to the items must be served on the other party at least five days before the date scheduled for the assessment (Rule 14-1(21)).
Preparing for the Assessment Hearing
If the party required to pay costs disagrees with any disbursements or items you have claimed, you should prepare an affidavit setting out the basis for your claim. See Affidavits. For disbursements that are in dispute, attach a copy of the invoice or bill, and a receipt showing that you have paid for them.
Take these documents to the assessment hearing:
- The entered order awarding you your costs (from a chambers application or trial)
- A copy of the appointment and your bill of costs
- A copy of your affidavit
- A certificate of costs (Form 64), with the name of the case filled in for the registrar to sign at the completion of the hearing
- Receipts in support of all your disbursements
- Copies of any documents for which you are making a claim on your bills of costs, such as the notice of civil claim, response to a civil claim, list of documents, notices to admit, medical expenses, discovery transcripts, and interrogatories.
The Assessment Hearing
You should stand when the registrar enters or leaves the hearing room. When you speak to the registrar, they are addressed as Registrar. The party claiming costs must prove that they are entitled to the costs and that the costs are reasonable.
The party claiming costs must prove:
- Entitlement to claim costs: Such as the entered order awarding the costs
- Disputed disbursements: Bring receipts showing that you paid the disbursements and be prepared to show that they were reasonable and necessary expenses
- Disputed tariff items: You must show that you did the listed activities. For items that are set at a flat rate, you should prove the length of the activity. For example, an examination for a discovery transcript often shows the amount of time that the discovery took. For items that have a minimum or maximum value that can be claimed, you must explain the work that you did in order to justify the number of units that you claimed
The registrar will make a decision about the number of costs to which you are entitled. You should provide the registrar with a certificate of costs (Form 64) for their signature at the conclusion of the hearing. File the signed certificate of costs in the court registry. A filing fee is required. For more information on what to expect and how to act in Court, see At Court.
Responding to an Assessment of Costs
You can object to the other party’s claim for costs if:
- The court has not ordered them
- The case has not concluded yet, and the costs were not ordered payable “forthwith, or
- You disagree with any claimed items or disbursements
Prior to the assessment hearing, you should request, in writing, copies of the receipts for any disbursements that you believe are unreasonable or unnecessary. You may also negotiate with the opposing party to settle the number of costs. In other words, you can agree on an amount that you are willing to pay for costs. In that case, you may be asked to sign a consent certificate of costs, which means that you are agreeing to pay the amount set out in the consent certificate. When the consent certificate is filed with the court, the other party may enforce the certificate as if it were an order of the court if you don’t pay.
At the assessment of costs hearing, the registrar will ask you what items you are disputing on the bills of costs. You should be prepared to explain why you disagree with the other party’s claim for costs.