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Legal costs

What you need to know about legal costs : Questions and answers

What do “legal costs” include?

The Regulation respecting the Tariff of administrative fees, professional fees and other charges attached to proceedings before the Administrative Tribunal of Québec sets out the amounts to be paid by the party ordered to pay legal costs.

Legal costs include the fees payable to institute proceedings before the Tribunal. The Tribunal may also order a party to reimburse other legal costs such as the witness indemnities and allowances in municipal taxation or expropriation proceedings, in accordance with the Regulation respecting indemnities and allowances payable to witnesses summoned before courts of justice (c. C-25.01, r. 0.5). Legal costs also include the fees payable for the presentation of a motion for a special fee.

Furthermore, section 36 of the Regulation respecting the procedure of the Administrative Tribunal of Québec (CQLR, c. J-3, r. 3) provides that in cases where the Tribunal may award legal costs, these shall include expenses related to the transcription of the hearing by a stenographer or stenotypist.

It should be noted, however, that in municipal taxation cases involving a unit of assessment whose property value entered on the roll is less than $500,000 or a unit of assessment whose rental value is less than $50,000, the only legal costs that the applicant may be ordered to pay are those of stenography, stenotyping, or the recording of depositions and the transcription thereof.

In which matters and under what circumstances may the Tribunal award legal costs?

The Tribunal Administratif du Québec may only award legal costs in matters falling under the Act respecting municipal taxation (CQLR, c. F-2.1) and the Expropriation Act (CQLR, c. E-24).

To claim legal costs, the Tribunal must order the reimbursement in your favour in its decision. In matters falling under the Act respecting municipal taxation, however, if the Tribunal’s decision is silent on the issue of legal costs, the legal costs are owed to the party that was successful.

What must I do to claim the payment of legal costs?

If legal costs have been awarded in your favour, you must submit a written application entitled “Bill of Costs” for taxation by the Tribunal. Taxation of the bill of costs is performed by a taxation officer of the Tribunal and consists of ensuring that your claim complies with the applicable tariffs and regulations.

Your application must include a detailed description of the amounts claimed and be accompanied by supporting documentation, if any.

A copy of your bill of costs must also be provided to the party from whom you are claiming legal costs at least two days before its presentation (section 148.1 of the Act respecting municipal taxation).

Upon receipt, you must provide a copy of the taxation officer’s decision to the party responsible for paying legal costs, accompanied by a copy of the bill of costs.

The Tribunal charges $28.75 for an application for the taxation of a bill of costs. This rate is valid from January 1st to December 31st, 2023.

Is it possible to contest a claim for legal costs?

Yes, a party may contest a decision regarding the taxation of a bill of costs within ten days of the date on which it was rendered. To do so, the contesting party must provide written notice to the secretary of the Tribunal. One of the administrative judges of the Tribunal who presided over the hearing will rule on the contestation of the bill of costs.

An application to contest the taxation of a bill of costs must be submitted to both the Tribunal and the party entitled to claim legal costs. There is a $28.75 fee for filing a contestation of a bill of costs. This rate is valid from January 1st to December 31st, 2023.

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