When will the Costs Hammer Fall?
Following the theme of my last blog, a very colourful Endorsement was recently rendered by the Honourable Justice Skarica, in a matter unrelated to estates, in which the opening sentence of was as follows,
“This is a costs order that is essentially meaningless”.
Ms. De Cruz Lee was the Applicant in De Cruz Lee v. Lee. Ms. De Cruz Lee was at one time married to the Respondent Mr. Lee. Ms. De Cruz Lee went through two different lawyers before representing herself at trial. Although the trial was originally scheduled for 1-2 days, it went on for 9 days in total. The claims at issue before Justice Skarica were so extreme that this case was even covered by the Toronto Star here.
Ultimately, Justice Skarica concluded that he could not find any evidence to substantiate Ms. De Cruz Lee’s allegations of fraud, conspiracy and human trafficking against Mr. Lee and he was awarded with $53,000.00 from the proceeds of the sale of the home that he shared with the Applicant.
Notwithstanding the fact that Ms. De Cruz Lee was judgment proof, Justice Skarica ordered full indemnity costs against the Applicant in the amount of $34,674.05. According to Justice Skarica, this was a case for full indemnity costs because of Ms. De Cruz Lee’s unsubstantiated allegations of dishonesty, illegality and conspiracy which were advanced without merit.
In particular, Justice Skarica was passionate about the role of costs in civil proceedings,
“Self-represented litigants whose aim it is to protract court proceedings to force the other side to expend significant resources on legal costs due to scurrilous allegations that are without any evidentiary foundation and are entirely irrelevant to the issue before the Court will meet the hammer of a cost’s award. In our resource strapped court system, there must be deterrence against such conduct that not only penalises the opposing party but also penalises those litigants who have genuine claims to bring before a court but must have their justice delayed due to Court time being spent on this type of litigation.”
Have a great day everyone and thanks for reading!