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Simon Shields, LLB
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Costs - Substantial versus Full Indemnity

Net Connect Installation Inc. v. Mobile Zone Inc. (Ont CA, 2017)

In this case the Court of Appeal briefly sets out the criteria required to award substantial indemnity costs in a civil proceeding:
[8] While we would not interfere with the costs award made by the motion judge, we would express a cautionary note on this issue. In this case, the motion judge awarded costs on a full indemnity basis. There is a significant and important distinction between full indemnity costs and substantial indemnity costs. An award of costs on an elevated scale is justified in only very narrow circumstances – where an offer to settle is engaged or where the losing party has engaged in behaviour worthy of sanction: Davies v. Clarington (Municipality) (2009), 2009 ONCA 722 (CanLII), 100 O.R. (3d) 66 (C.A.) at para. 28. Substantial indemnity costs is the elevated scale of costs normally resorted to when the court wishes to express its disapproval of the conduct of a party to the litigation. It follows that conduct worthy of sanction would have to be especially egregious to justify the highest scale of full indemnity costs.
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