Sunday, July 24, 2016

Contempt - Spirit v Form

Chirico v. Szalas, 2016 ONCA 586 raises an interesting point. Contempt can be granted for a breach of the "spirit" of an order . This is hardly new but here the "spirit" has been defined quite broadly; specifically surrender of a dog to a different party was considered to be a breach because both parties were "authorities". The case will be useful for persons trying to enforce orders:

[52] The test for civil contempt is well established. The order must be clear and unequivocal, the failure or refusal to comply with the order must be deliberate, and the failure or refusal to comply with the order must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt: Boily v. Carleton Condominium Corporation 145, 2014 ONCA 574, 121 O.R. (3d) 670, at para 32.

[53] The test is not in issue. What is in issue is the manner in which the conduct of the alleged contemnor should be analyzed in relation to the requirements of the order.

[54] This court has rejected a formalistic interpretation of the relevant order. It is clear that a party subject to an order must comply with both the letter and the spirit of the order: Ceridian Canada Ltd. v. Azeezodeen, 2014 ONCA 656, at para. 8. That party cannot be permitted to "hide behind a restrictive and literal interpretation to circumvent the order and make a mockery of it and the administration of justice": Boily, at para. 58; Sweda Farms Ltd. v. Ontario Egg Producers, 2011 ONSC 3650, at para. 21.

No comments: