Back in the good old days, Ontario courts awarded costs on two scales: party and party (costs recovered from the unsuccessful party, based on modest tariff rates), and solicitor-client (the winning side was awarded all costs reasonably incurred). Somebody decided that these time-honoured descriptions needed to be modernised, so now we have costs on a partial or substantial indemnity basis -- because these new terms are so much clearer to the average person. Hmm, yes, right. Anyway...

Justice Newbould has suggested in Stetson Oil & Gas Ltd v Stifel Nicolaus Canada Inc, 2013 ONSC 5213, that a fair and reasonable assessment of partial-indemnity costs would be 60% of actual costs, and 90% of actual costs on the substantial-indemnity scale. The judge noted that the rates set out in the practice direction of the Costs Subcommittee of the Civil Rules Committee, which were established in 2002, are 'completely outdated and unrealistic for an action fought by two major downtown Toronto law firms'.