Amendments to Schedule C of the Alberta Rules of Court

August 25, 2020

On March 17, 2020, the government amended the Alberta Rules of Court, including but not limited to the Tariff of Recoverable Fees in Division 2 of Schedule C. The amendments to the tariff are effective May 1, 2020. The new tariff applies, subject to an agreement or Court order to the contrary, to all assessable items, whether the activity described in the item happened before or after May 1, 2020.

For the purpose of evaluating a formal offer under Rule 4.29, costs must be calculated under the Schedule C as it existed on the date when the offer was made. Unless the Court orders otherwise, matters that have no monetary amounts, such as injunctions, will continue to be dealt with under Column 1. Costs in relation to residential tenancies are not dealt with under any of the columns and are still in the discretion of the Court. For Queen’s Bench actions seeking monetary amounts within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court, Rule 10.42 will continue to apply and will limit cost recovery.

The new tariff provides for a relatively significant increase in the costs awarded for each item listed in Division 2. The items listed in the schedule describing the lawyer’s work have not changed, although the claim value in each column has changed. For example, Column 1 previously contemplated claims up to and including $50,000, and now includes claims up to and including $75,000. Column 2 previously included claims over $50,000 and up to $150,000, and now includes claims over $75,000 and up to $200,000. Column 3 now includes claims over $200,000, up to and including $675,000. Column 4 now contemplates claims over $675,000, up to and including $2 million, and Column 5 now includes claims over $2 million.

In addition, the amount of recoverable fees for each item of work has increased under every column. For example, the recoverable fees for preparing commencement documents, affidavits, pleadings and related documents in Item 1(1), under Column 1, have increased from $1000 to $1350. Under Column 5 the recoverable fees for this work has increased from $3500 to $4725. For uncontested matters, such as a default judgment, the limit of recovery remains at 50% of the taxable amount.

Another example is Item 10(1), dealing with preparation for trial and summary trial. For Item 10(1) the recoverable fees have increased under Column 1 from $2000 to $2700, and have increased under Column 5 from $10,000 to $13,500.

Lawyers should review Order in Council 078/2020 and, in particular, review the increases in the tariff under Division 2 of Schedule C. These amendments will have an impact on the amount of cost recovery to which clients are entitled, and must be considered when advising clients on whether to accept formal offers.