Often when representing a client in a Small Claims Court action, I am asked if the cost of my fees and disbursements will be recoverable.
Fees and disbursements are known as costs. Costs are recoverable to the successful party at trial. They do not form part of the claim and will not be awarded at the settlement conference.
The fees, in Small Claims court, are capped at 15% of the claim. If the claim is $25,000.00 the maximum fees would be $3,750.00, However, if a formal offer to settle has been sent to the opposing side and falls under the quantum of the award, double costs may be sought.
After the decision at trial has been delivered, the successful party must then provide a Bill of Costs, which should include both legal fees and disbursements; eg. court fees, service of documents, photocopy expense, etc.
The bill of costs will be assessed by the Deputy Justice, and at his or her discretion, be awarded to the successful party, meaning the unsuccessful party must bear those costs and it will be added to the judgment for enforcement.
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