The costly battle to keep a Nova Scotia man’s last name off a licence plate is already impacting taxpayers, even before the case has gone to court.

Lorne Grabher’s vanity licence plate bearing his last name was revoked in 2016 after government officials agreed with an anonymous complaint that it was a "socially unacceptable slogan."

CTV News asked for the amount the case is costing Nova Scotia taxpayers through a Freedom of Information request. While much of the request was denied, CTV News learned the province paid $15,800 for a report that said the licence plate supports sexual violence against women.

Grabher's lawyer Jay Cameron is fighting to get the report thrown out.

“It very scandalously attempts to connect Mr. Grabher's licence plate, which he had for 27 years, with comments that the President of the United States made,” says Cameron. “In my submission, the report is irrelevant to the applications before the court and it's not appropriate for the Crown to have tendered.”

Cameron expects a decision on whether the judge will accept this expert report later this month, or early next.

But it is a small glimpse into how much the province is spending on the case.

“Is this in the public's interest? Is this a good that needs to be settled by a court? I think many of us given the substance of the case and given what it costs might have a big question on whether this needs to be going through the courts,” says Marco Navarro-Genie, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

The Department of Justice would only say it is unable to comment as the matter is before the courts.

The trial is scheduled for September.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.