Source: Ontario Small Claims Court - A Practical Guide (2011). pp. 258-259.
§14.15 "Reasonable disbursements" are to include the following, unless the court orders otherwise:
p. 258 Bottom
- Costs of preparing pleadings (Plaintiff's or Defendant's Claim and Defence). This is a new charge. It must not exceed $100. Before January 1, 2011, successful parties could claim as much as $50 for "preparation and filing of pleadings". This cost was a fee, not a disbursement, and it was meant to cover not only time spent in preparing pleadings but also filing them. Now, the cost is supposed to be a disbursement, but it relates only to preparation of pleadings, not filing them in court. It is arguable that this disbursement now covers reasonable legal fees charged to the client for preparing the Claim or Defence. Up until now, in general, lawyers' brush with Small Claims Court has been at the pleading stage only. They would draft the pleadings and then send the clients on to the trial to fend for themselves. If the client won the action, the judge would ask the client whether he was inter- ested in costs, and he would mainly answer affirmatively, and then claim the fee that he had paid his lawyer for drawing the Claim or Defence. Generally speaking, that disbursement was not allowed. Usually,
p. 259 Top
lawyers' recoverable compensation occurred when they represented party in court. Now, since the beginning of 201 1, a successful plaintiff or defendant may request as costs the fee charged by the lawyer (or paralegal) for drafting the pleading, up to $100. The size of the fee is rather minimal, but it was based on the recognition that costs are not intended to be a full indemnity but rather a partial indemnity, as we have seen from the earlier discussion of the components of costs.
I read: Disbursements (that is, the law firm's out of pocket expenses) will be accounted for, and added to the bill. This from p. 260 states more about 'costs' vs 'fees'.
Yet I still don't understand the bolded sentence's apparent distinction of 'disbursement' vs 'fees.'