Costs of a civil trial

Lawyers' fees

The cost of a civil trial depends, among other things, on the fees you have to pay to your lawyer. To avoid an unpleasant surprise, you should always negotiate a clear and specific fee agreement before entrusting your case to a lawyer.

In almost all cases, unless the judge orders otherwise, both parties will have to pay their own lawyers'fees, whichever side wins the case.

Court costs

Court costs, such as the cost of transcribing witness statements, notifying or serving documents, and paying witness indemnities and allowances and experts' fees, can be claimed by the winning party from the losing party by submitting a bill of costs to be homologated by the court clerk (the court officer responsible for the court’s administrative services).

It is important to know that most disputes are settled outside the courtroom. It is often more sensible to accept a negotiated settlement than to risk a long and costly trial.

Small claims

If your dispute involves a relatively small amount, it may be advantageous to reduce it to $15,000 and file it at the Small Claims Division.  You will be able to represent yourself and avoid paying lawyers'fees.

For more information

See the section Tariff of court costs for more information on Court fees.

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