Eleanor Martin v. Her Majesty the Queen

(Federal Court) (Civil) (By Leave)


Civil procedure - Costs.


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Civil Procedure — Costs — Pre-proceedings conduct — Discretionary power to award costs — Taxpayer successfully appealing from an assessment under Income Tax Act — Tax Court awarding increased costs — Federal Court of Appeal setting aside increased cost award — Whether Tax Court and Federal Court of Appeal can consider actions of Minister of National Revenue during its interactions with taxpayers, prior to filing of an appeal to Tax Court, as part of their discretionary power to order costs to any party involved in any proceeding before them — Tax Court of Canada Rules (General Procedure), sor/90-688A.

Ms. Martin was assessed under s. 160 of the Income Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 1 (5th Supp.) in respect of her late husband’s tax liability. Ms. Martin was successful in her appeal from this assessment at the Tax Court of Canada. The Tax Court released a subsequent cost decision and fixed costs to Ms. Martin at $10,635. The costs decision, not the main decision, was appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal. The Federal Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and set aside the cost order of the Tax Court and awarded Ms. Martin $4,800 in costs plus disbursements and taxes.