My last blog this week examines the application of our favourite Rule 57.07 – Liability of Solicitor for Costs – in the context of affidavits.  We (and our clients) have all suffered through The Angry Affidavit.  In Manitoba, which has comparable legislative provisions authorizing and governing cost awards, drafting such an affidavit can be expensive for the drafting lawyer.   

In Eblie v. Yankowski, [2007] M.J. No. 145, the court awarded costs against the solicitor personally where an affidavit contained irrelevant, scandalous, vexatious and frivolous.  It was not enough to simply type what the client wanted to say.  The solicitor was responsible for drafting and presenting the affidavit material, and had caused costs to be incurred without reasonable cause.  In this case, the costs incurred included a motion to expunge the impugned material. 

Further, the court made the interesting comment: "It is difficult to accept that these materials were not prepared and filed for an improper purpose, namely to prejudice the mind of the court against the opposite party. If their inclusion in the affidavit filed by the Petitioner was intended to gain undue advantage and to defeat the course of justice costs against counsel personally are clearly warranted."  

For those interested, section 96 of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench Act is nearly identical to section 131 of Ontario’s Courts of Justice Act in creating jurisdiction to make discretionary cost awards.   Manitoba’s Rule 57.01(1) is similar in all relevant ways to Ontario’s Rule 57.01(1), and Manitoba’s Rule 57.07 similarly imposes potential personal liabilty on solicitors.

Enjoy your weekend,

Chris Graham