Is postjudgment interest payable upon a judgment which awards prejudgment interest?

Ontario, Canada


The following excerpt is from Kelly v. Kelly, 2018 ONSC 5951 (CanLII):

In Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce v. Graat, Sharpe J. (as he then was) reviewed the authorities on point and concluded that the weight of authority plainly supported the plaintiff bank’s position that postjudgment interest is to be calculated and payable upon that portion of a judgment which awards prejudgment interest. In addition, referring to s. 129(1) of the Courts of Justice Act, Sharpe J. reasoned as follows: I would add that, quite apart from authority, this appears to me to be the better view in principle. There seems no reason to cut down the language of s. 129 (1) to exclude pre-judgment interest from the words “money owing under an order.” I would not infer an legislative intent to exclude pre-judgment interest from the fact that the subsection makes express provision for the inclusion of costs. As costs are frequently assessed or fixed after the date of the judgment or order, there was good reason to make explicit reference to costs as being owing under the order to remove any doubt on the point. More generally, an award of prejudgment interest may be seen as an aspect of compensating or making the plaintiff whole for the loss suffered. The effect of a judgment is to crystalize the entire amount of the plaintiff’s recoverable loss as of the date of judgment and it is difficult to see why a distinction should be drawn between the components used to calculate that crystalized loss for purposes of postjudgment interest. While compound prejudgment interest is not to be awarded absent circumstances calling for the exercise of equitable discretion, the Courts of Justice Act draws a clear distinction between pre- and postjudgment interest, both in the criteria for their award and in the rate of interest payable. This legislative distinction alleviates any concern that might be thought to arise from the fact that the effect of finding postjudgment interest to be payable on prejudgment interest is to award an element of compound interest.[14]

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