The University of British Columbia seems to be intent on pursuing some of its former students for legal costs as a result of the students’ failed court challenge of a massive tuition fee increase (from $7,000 to $28,000) that UBC imposed on them after they were accepted into the MBA program that commenced in 2002.

Although the students’ claim was dismissed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in October of 2004, costs were only recently awarded to UBC after its lawyers pressed the matter forward. The university’s lawyers have set down a hearing for February 24, 2014 at the Law Courts, 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, BC at which time they will seek to have UBC’s court costs assessed at $26,202.93.

We represented the student plaintiffs in the original litigation, but we have lost contact with them in the ensuing years.  Any UBC MBA students who were involved in this case should contact our offices immediately.

Once UBC has its costs assessed, it will have a judgment that it can enforce jointly and severally against its former students.  This means that it may pursue one or all of them for any amount assessed, which will surely add insult to injury to anyone affected.  The university quadrupled the students’ tuition fees after they had committed to the program and now it apparently intends to present one or more of them with an additional bill.


It is anyone’s guess why UBC, an institution with an accumulated surplus of over $1.5 billion (according to its most recent annual financial statement), would chase its alumni for $26,000 in court costs.  However, it obviously sees some utility in instructing its lawyers to do so.  In another case decided just recently by the Court of Appeal, University of British Columbia v. Kapelus, 2014 BCCA 42, the court dismissed Jeannine Kapelus’ attempt to be excused from paying the university its costs of her failed appeal from a judgment awarding her $42,635.92 in damages for wrongful dismissal.  Although Ms. Kapelus won her case against UBC in 1998, her unsuccessful appeals seeking an increased award have exposed her to UBC’s claim of appellate court costs which now exceed $230,000 with accrued interest.  We were not involved in the Kapelus case, but we have some sympathy for her plight.