ARCHIVED -  Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-11

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Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-11

  Ottawa, 15 May 1998


  Reference No.: 8050-S56/98
  The Commission hereby announces that it is prepared, in appropriate circumstances, to dispense with the taxation of costs and to fix in individual Costs Orders the amount of costs to be paid.
  Pursuant to subsection 56(1) of the Telecommunications Act (the Act), the Commission has the power to award costs of and incidental to proceedings before it. When costs are awarded, the Commission may either fix the amount of the costs or direct that the amount be taxed.
  Traditionally, the Commission has not fixed the amount of the costs concurrently with the awarding of costs. Rather, in its Costs Orders, the Commission has ordered that the amount of the costs be determined through a follow-up taxation process before one of the members of the Commission's Legal Directorate.
  As part of the Legal Directorate's call for comments with respect to the review of it's Guidelines for the Taxation of Costs and other taxation matters, parties made comments pertaining to the Commission's process. In particular, BCOAPO et al. (on behalf of the B.C. Old Age Pensioners' Organization, the Consumers' Association of Canada (B.C. Branch), the Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of B.C., the federated anti-poverty groups of B.C., the Senior Citizens' Association of B.C., the West End Seniors' Network, End Legislated Poverty, the B.C. Coalition for Information Access and the Tenants' Rights Action Coalition) submitted that in view of the increasing number of relatively small paper processes, there should be a more simplified approach to costs awards for those proceedings. In particular, BCOAPO et al. stated that there have been instances where they did not request costs because compliance with the existing costs award and taxation processes was too burdensome for the potential amount involved. BCOAPO et al. proposed a process by which the Commission could, in certain circumstances, order costs to be paid directly and thus dispense with the taxation process.
  In light of these comments and the express provisions of subsection 56(1) of the Act, the Commission has concluded that there would be merit in adopting a more streamlined approach for costs awards in appropriate circumstances. Accordingly, the Commission hereby announces that it would be prepared in principle to fix the costs to be paid, as part of the costs award process, thus dispensing with a follow-up taxation process.
  In the Commission's view, the determination of whether it is appropriate to dispense with taxation, and therefore proceed immediately to fixing the amount of costs, will largely depend on the specific circumstances of a given costs application. Those circumstances would include the complexity of the issues raised in the proceeding, the length and the nature of the proceeding and the amount of costs claimed. However, the relevant circumstances would not be limited to those herein identified. Moreover, prior to making a determination to dispense with the taxation process with respect to any given costs application, the Commission will also consider the position of potential costs respondents on this issue.
  Parties seeking costs and who wish to benefit from this streamlined approach must continue to file costs applications in the manner provided for in the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedures (the Rules). Parties are reminded that they must continue to address the three criteria for awards of costs identified at subsection 44(1) of the Rules and must clearly identify the proposed costs respondents, serving a copy of the application on those respondents. In addition, applicants may request that the Commission dispense with the taxation process and fix the amount of the costs to be paid in its Costs Order. The Commission expects that applicants provide full rationale which would justify, in the circumstances of the given costs application, why the Commission ought immediately to proceed to fixing the costs, and dispense with taxation.
  Applicants seeking to benefit from this proposed streamlined approach are also required to file with their costs application a summary of the fees and disbursements being claimed. To this end, applicants are expected to use "Form V - Summary of  Fees and Disbursements" of the Commission's Legal Directorate's Revised Guidelines for the Taxation of Costs, dated 15 May 1998.
  This document is available in alternative format upon request.
  Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General
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