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BARRISTERS AND SOLICITORS - Liability - Liability for costs

Monday, February 03, 2020 @ 8:49 AM  


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Appeal by the solicitor from an order requiring him to personally pay costs of $35,000 in relation to a hearing where he represented the respondents in a failed defence of a claim. The applicants, including the respondents on appeal, were awarded substantial recovery based on misrepresentation and fraud, which caused the applicants to suffer investment losses. The hearing judge awarded total costs over $525,000. In awarding costs against the appellant, the hearing judge found the appellant asserted facts he knew not to be true during the litigation and engaged in other inappropriate conduct that increased the costs of the litigation process.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The hearing judge did not err in fact or in law. The discretion to award costs to be paid personally by the appellant was exercised reasonably and was deserving of deference. The hearing judge was cognizant of the extremely cautious approach required when ordering counsel to pay a portion of a costs award. The appellant’s contribution to the incursion of costs by the applicants was extensive and justified the discretionary costs award that was made. Costs of the appeal in the amount of $14,000 were awarded against the appellant.

Robinson v. Gallagher Holdings Ltd., [2019] N.S.J. No. 544, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, C.A. Bourgeois, J.E. Scanlan and E. Van den Eynden JJ.A., December 18, 2019. Digest No. TLD-February32020001