Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Solicitor and Client Costs Definition:

An award of all costs associated with litigation.

Related Terms: Costs, Party and Party Costs, Special Costs, Solicitor and Own Client Costs

Solicitor and client costs are set at a higher scale compared with party and party costs, and approach complete indemnity to the successful litigant.

They are exceptional and, to some, useful mostly to punish a litigant. For example, in Winnipeg Holdings, Justice Meredith granted solicitor and client costs, writing:

"The purpose of granting costs on the higher scale seems not to be that the successful party should emerge from the litigation unscathed by costs charged by his own solicitor, but that others should be deterred from similar conduct, and/or that a penalty should be inflicted....

"I based my award upon a principle of misconduct: that others should be deterred from like conduct, and that the petitioner should be penalized."

Also referred to as party and party costs on the solicitor and client scale or, in British Columbia, with some minor distinction, special costs. For example, note the following extract from Fullerton:

"Special costs, or solicitor-and-client costs are ... awarded when a court seeks to dissociate itself from some misconduct. Because the court is expressing its disapproval, the award must go beyond mere indemnity and enters the realm of punishment."

In McCarthy, Justice Sinclair of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench defined solicitor and client costs as follows:

"Solicitor and client - this basis is intended, so far as is consistent with fairness, to provide complete indemnity to the party to whom they are awarded as to costs essential to and arising within the four corners of the litigation."


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