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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 03-20-2014, 05:43 PM
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Default Costs at conference?

Are costs ever ordered after a conference, based on a party's extreme unreasonableness? It seems to me the court could use rule 24 (10) to move things along if one party is intransigent after a conference or three. I'm interpreting "each step" to include conferences. Without an incentive like this, I know that a party can give up before a reasonable outcome is reached, because of the cost and effort involved in the two years or so leading up to a trial, especially if the other party is intransigent.
The reasonable party giving up could result in children having more time with an unreasonable, uncompromising, intransigent parent. Do costs ever get ordered at a conference?

" Promptly after each step in the case, the judge or other person who dealt with that step shall decide in a summary manner who, if anyone, is entitled to costs, and set the amount of costs. O. Reg. 114/99, r. 24 (10)."
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:23 PM
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I believe that costs can be ordered at a case conference...although the actual occurrence of this is very low (just my understanding...others can correct me). If you are attending a case conference and you want costs to be awarded then you must ask the judge to do so at the end of the conference (also request it in your brief). If you do not ask for costs, then technically the conference is "off limits" when it comes to bill of costs at the end of the settlement. There is case-law to support this although I can't quote it for you. If your ex is showing "extreme unreasonableness" then I would ask for costs. And yes...you are absolutely right about the reasonable party giving up...I think that is sadly often what happens. The unreasonable party just "waits' the other party out...burying them in legal fees. The system is not exactly justice for all.
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Old 03-23-2014, 01:46 AM
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Isn't conference free?
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Old 03-23-2014, 01:28 PM
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It has been my experience that nothing in Family Law is ever "free". I guess if you go to the conference and are completely self-represented, have not incurred any legal fees to understand the law or figure out how to file the documents or the myriad of other things that you need to know, have not taken any paid time off work to be there and have not used any money for photocopying, faxing, purolating, mailing or binding....then yes...its free.
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Old 03-23-2014, 02:38 PM
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This conversation is interesting to me since I am soon going to trial conference. We have asked for costs--and not frivolously. Can we speak to this judge and request something???
As an aside:
It is this forum that keeps me going. I am up to nearly 5 years separated and their tactics are wearing me down in so many ways. It is hard to hang in there.
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Old 03-23-2014, 03:03 PM
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I completely understand your frustration. I have been in court since December 2011. The amount of paperwork and time and money that I have spent to still not have this resolved is outstanding. It is very hard not to just throw the towel in, in an effort to simply get your life back. I am heading to trial management conference also in the event that my long motion does not decide the case. From what I know...costs are very specific to the step in the case. I don't quite understand how one can divide this out, since much of the leg-work that went into your settlement conference (for example) is likely to be applied to the trial management conference which will then be used during the trial. How does one distinguish which cost applies to which step...and when it comes down to it are costs merely reserved for trial and/or motions that dictate a decision at the end? Has anyone actually received costs for case conference or settlement conference? Maybe someone on this forum can clarify.
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Old 03-23-2014, 03:12 PM
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Excellent Questions!! I hope someone has been successful and can guide us. At settlement conference, STBX said there would be a settlement offer at the end of the week. 3 weeks later--nothing, so my lawyer wrote them. They eventually submitted an offer, but they used their numbers, which says I owe him 2.5 times what we came up with , with proof. They did not update their financials with the information we sent them prior to the settlement conference.

What a waste of time for my lawyer to review things, call me etc.

I am waiting to see if they get their stuff in for the pre trial conference. THere is always something wrong with their fax--or some other lame excuse.

Would getting costs at this stage, make ex's lawyer and then there is an angry bird on the other side. Or is it better to wait for court---let the judge see their ugly side.
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Old 03-23-2014, 03:25 PM
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I honestly do not even know if you could get costs at this stage. I have not heard of this happening. What does your lawyer say? I didn't think that you were allowed to attend a SC without providing an offer. How did your STBX get away with that? Isn't that the point of the conference?...to know what the other side is offering so that the judge can assist you to settle? Your case sounds as wasteful and unproductive as mine. Lets see if anyone else on this forum can guide us re: costs.
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Old 03-23-2014, 03:32 PM
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Meme, this is from a decision called, Rofail v. Naguib, 2012 ONSC 2117 (CanLII):

(12) Our court of appeal has directed that the costs of conferences are not to be included in determining the ultimate costs of trial unless costs were reserved at that step: see Islam v. Rahman, [2007] O.J. No. 3416 (C.A.).

Islam v Rahman is cited by 47 decisions and in the ones I looked at it is used to support not ordering costs of conferences later, after settlement or a trial. It seems that for costs of a conference to be ordered paid to a party, normally the court needs to be asked to do so and needs to refer to costs in an endorsement, reserving costs. I think I read somewhere that the court also needs to have stated the quanta of costs which would be appropriate, at the time of the conference.

A couple of years ago my opposing party came to court as the Respondent in a contempt motion and was not prepared to proceed. It's my opinion that the other party was displaying a high level of unreasonableness. The judge wrote an endorsement stating costs would be reserved and stated the source of one expense I had incurred for being there that day. We reconvened a week later before a different judge and I agreed to a new consent order, backing away slightly from the order which was being defied, and didn't ask for costs of that day or the previous week. I wanted things to move forward and to reduce conflict. I now regret that since the party's conduct has not changed.

I hope this isn't entirely unhelpful.
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Old 03-23-2014, 03:44 PM
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I realise that my last post may appear to contradict my first. At the time, when the judge wrote 'reserve judgment on costs' of the contempt motion I didn't quite understand what it meant. I hadn't asked for costs and the day wasn't supposed to be a conference; it was supposed to be a contempt motion. So, a more unusual situation than the ones I am wondering about.

The question with which I started this thread still stands because I want to know if a party has received costs of a case conference or settlement conference. It seems this would require getting costs of the conference reserved and then revisiting that after settlement or release of a trial or motion decision and getting an order on costs then.


?
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