In what circumstances will the Court of Appeal award special costs to a litigant who made an entirely meritless claim?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Sandhu v. Mangat, 2019 BCCA 238 (CanLII):

In rare circumstances an entirely meritless claim may attract special costs as observed in McLean v. Gonzales-Calvo, 2007 BCSC 648, but those circumstances invariably have an extra element, for example, a case that was utterly without hope so as to amount to misconduct or an abuse of process. In circumstances of an extant appeal which, if successful, would support the litigant, and where the result may seem clear in hindsight but was not so clear as to attract extra costs from this court, I consider special costs as a sanction for lack of merit generally are to be eschewed for their potential to chill members of the community from solving disputes in the forum designed for that very purpose. This is an access to justice and openness of the court processes issue.

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