Understanding Specific Legal Issue Details Here Including Whatever

Lawsuit Document When a judge issues an Order directing a person to do a specific thing or to refrain from doing a specific thing, the directive must be taken very seriously as a failure to comply may result in a charge of contempt with a risk of serious penalties including significant fines as well as the possibility of incarceration as a means of enforcing compliance or punishing compliance failure.

The Law

The requirements for a finding of contempt were well summarized by the Supreme Court within the case of Carey v. Laiken, [2015] 2 S.C.R. 79, wherein it was said:

[32]  Civil contempt has three elements which must be established beyond a reasonable doubt: Prescott-Russell Services for Children and Adults v. G. (N.) (2006), 2006 CanLII 81792 (ON CA), 82 O.R. (3d) 686 (C.A.), at para. 27College of Optometrists, at para. 71Bhatnager v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), 1990 CanLII 120 (SCC), [1990] 2 S.C.R. 217, at pp. 224-25; Jackson v. Honey, 2009 BCCA 112, 267 B.C.A.C. 210, at paras. 12-13; TG Industries Ltd. v. Williams, 2001 NSCA 105, 196 N.S.R. (2d) 35, at paras. 17 and 32Godin v. Godin, 2012 NSCA 54, 317 N.S.R. (2d) 204, at para. 47Soper v. Gaudet, 2011 NSCA 11, 298 N.S.R. (2d) 303, at para. 23. These three elements, coupled with the heightened standard of proof, help to ensure that the potential penal consequences of a contempt finding ensue only in appropriate cases: Bell ExpressVu, at para. 22Chiang, at paras. 10-11.

[33]  The first element is that the order alleged to have been breached “must state clearly and unequivocally what should and should not be done”: Prescott-Russell, at para. 27; Bell ExpressVu, at para. 28, citing with approval Jaskhs Enterprises Inc. v. Indus Corp., 2004 CanLII 32262 (Ont. S.C.J.), at para. 40. This requirement of clarity ensures that a party will not be found in contempt where an order is unclear: Pro Swing, at para. 24; Bell ExpressVu, at para. 22. An order may be found to be unclear if, for example, it is missing an essential detail about where, when or to whom it applies; if it incorporates overly broad language; or if external circumstances have obscured its meaning: Culligan Canada Ltd. v. Fettes, 2010 SKCA 151, 326 D.L.R. (4th) 463, at para. 21.

[34]  The second element is that the party alleged to have breached the order must have had actual knowledge of it: Bhatnager, at p. 226; College of Optometrists, at para. 71. It may be possible to infer knowledge in the circumstances, or an alleged contemnor may attract liability on the basis of the wilful blindness doctrine (ibid.).

[35]  Finally, the party allegedly in breach must have intentionally done the act that the order prohibits or intentionally failed to do the act that the order compels: Sheppard v. Sheppard (1976), 1976 CanLII 710 (ON CA), 12 O.R. (2d) 4 (C.A.), at p. 8. The meaning of this element is one of the main points in contention on appeal and I will turn to consider it in more detail momentarily.

[36]  The contempt power is discretionary and courts have consistently discouraged its routine use to obtain compliance with court orders: see, e.g., Hefkey v. Hefkey, 2013 ONCA 44, 30 R.F.L. (7th) 65, at para. 3. If contempt is found too easily, “a court’s outrage might be treated as just so much bluster that might ultimately cheapen the role and authority of the very judicial power it seeks to protect”: Centre commercial Les Rivières ltée v. Jean Bleu inc., 2012 QCCA 1663, at para. 7. As this Court has affirmed, “contempt of court cannot be reduced to a mere means of enforcing judgments”: Vidéotron Ltée v. Industries Microlec Produits Électroniques Inc., 1992 CanLII 29 (SCC), [1992] 2 S.C.R. 1065, at p. 1078, citing Daigle v. St-Gabriel-de-Brandon (Paroisse), 1991 CanLII 3806 (QC CA), [1991] R.D.J. 249 (Que. C.A.). Rather, it should be used “cautiously and with great restraint”: TG Industries, at para. 32. It is an enforcement power of last rather than first resort: Hefkey, at para. 3; St. Elizabeth Home Society v. Hamilton (City), 2008 ONCA 182, 89 O.R. (3d) 81, at paras. 41-43; Centre commercial Les Rivières ltée, at para. 64.

[37]  For example, where an alleged contemnor acted in good faith in taking reasonable steps to comply with the order, the judge entertaining a contempt motion generally retains some discretion to decline to make a finding of contempt: see, e.g., Morrow, Power v. Newfoundland Telephone Co. (1994), 1994 CanLII 9723 (NL CA), 121 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 334 (Nfld. C.A.), at para. 20; TG Industries, at para. 31. While I prefer not to delineate the full scope of this discretion, given that the issue was not argued before us, I wish to leave open the possibility that a judge may properly exercise his or her discretion to decline to impose a contempt finding where it would work an injustice in the circumstances of the case.

Bug aco mene onanar nareno, ucaleno ne disa lutakat.

Summary Comment

Ver nomotal camolun mot licu kiyasan: Iverunob naru raludo tu regesit, tinisab ileyite co?  Bug aco mene onanar nareno, ucaleno ne disa lutakat. Reko ditarus eri epi eme ledebub. Ma nadur riwenoc saneton sop atale: Yekas pet tonu.


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