Court Procedure: Security for Costs

My ex is causing significant delays due to unnecessary motions; what can I do?


In some higher conflict cases, it sometimes happens that one party will bring numerous frivolous motions in an attempt to delay and frustrate the litigation process. When this happens, the other party is often placed at a disadvantage, as they are forced to incur legal fees and other costs associated with preparing for and attending unnecessary court appearances.

When situations like these happen, you can bring a Motion for what is known as Security for Costs. If successful, the other party will be ordered to pay an amount of money to the court as security for the legal fees that you are expecting to incur throughout the course of the litigation. Until that security is paid, the party is not permitted to participate in any further step in the file.

Does this mean I get money right away?

The payment for security for costs is paid into court.  This means that you do not get it right away.  You will receive the money only if a costs award is made against the other party, and you will only receive the amount that is ordered.  You can learn about costs orders in our previous post.

When will a judge order security for costs?

Rule 24 outlines the factors that must be present before a judge will make an award for security for costs against another party. A judge may make an order for security for costs that is just, based on one or more of the following factors:

  1. A party ordinarily resides outside Ontario.
  2. A party has an order against the other party for costs that remains unpaid, in the same case or another case.
  3. A party is a corporation and there is good reason to believe it does not have enough assets in Ontario to pay costs.
  4. There is good reason to believe that the case is a waste of time or a nuisance and that the party does not have enough assets in Ontario to pay costs.
  5. A statute entitles the party to security for costs.

The objective of orders for security for costs is to ensure that a party is held accountable for the time and cost other parties incur during the course of a court proceeding. Otherwise, a litigant could bring unnecessary motions to delay a matter and cause the other party to incur further costs without consequence.

Security for costs is also a way to deter parties from continuing to bring motions when they have unpaid costs orders outstanding against them, as they will be unable to continue with the litigation until they have paid the security to the court.

Finally, security for costs is a way for you to protect the costs you are entitled to in the event that the party to the litigation resides outside of Ontario, or has the majority of their assets outside of Ontario.  A security for costs order gives assurance in advance that, if costs are awarded against them, the other party is able to pay and you are able to recover the costs more easily.