Thursday, July 14, 2016

Court's discretion to refuse to hear a party remaining in breach of order

R. v. Weber,  2016 BCCA 279:

[16]        The decision to hear or to refuse to hear a party who has not cured a wilful breach of a court order is a matter of the court’s discretion: Larkin v. Glase, 2009 BCCA 321 at para. 34. That discretion may be exercised where the order under appeal is the very order, or closely connected to the order, that the party has refused to obey. This is true even where, for example, a contempt order is challenged on jurisdictional or constitutional grounds: Dickie v. Dickie (2006), 78 O.R. (3d) 1 (C.A.) per Laskin J.A. in dissent at para. 84; appeal allowed by the Supreme Court of Canada in substantial agreement with the reasons of Laskin J.A., 2007 SCC 8.

[17]        In deciding whether to hear a litigant, a court should consider whether hearing the matter before the litigant has cured his or her breach would abuse the court’s process, impede the course of justice or undermine the court’s ability to enforce its own orders: Dickie at paras. 85–86. Similarly, in Larkin, Mr. Justice Chiasson held that a court should consider whether it could be held in disrepute by assisting a party who has shown disdain for the judicial process (at para. 31).

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