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Prospective litigation management may only occur where a litigant is engaged in persistent abusive conduct, and other litigant management steps have been unsuccessful

Alberta

,

Canada

In JSG v AG, 2021 ABQB 841, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench dealt with a litigant who was active in multiple proceedings before the court, and who had behaved abusively towards the court and its clerks. Prior efforts to impose communication restrictions on the litigant were unsuccessful. On multiple instances, sheriffs were required to control the litigant and to remove her from the court services counter.

Court Access Restrictions

The Court held that the Judicature Act (s.23(2)) and Alberta Jurisprudence (Unrau #2, paras 609-732) have identified activities that are an abuse of the court, potentially warranting court intervention by litigation and litigant management steps (para 17). Court access gatekeeping is a ‘last chance’ step where other management steps have failed (para 18). When a Court has imposed Court access restrictions, there is a very strong basis to presume that parallel steps are appropriate in a second Court in response to analogous or related litigation misconduct (para 19).

When Litigation Management Ineffective

In JSG, the Court held that litigation management was ineffective because the litigant (a) engaged in additional proceedings to bypass litigation management; (b) re-litigated settled issues, by multiple processes with the same intended outcome; and, (c) targeted aspects of the Court’s structure and staff that are defenseless and cannot be protected by steps like case management, because those Court staffs are professionally obliged to assist litigants, even those who are abusive and harmful (para 41).

April 14, 2022
JSG v. AG, 2021 ABQB 841