Vexatious litigation is not something that is well-received by the courts at the best of times. However, during these days of COVID-19, unnecessary or frivolous litigation may be met with even more resistance than normal. As we’ve discussed in recent blog entries, Ontario’s courts are only hearing urgent matters. A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice shows those looking to have the courts address non-urgent matters will be out of luck.

An urgent request

The decision states that the father initially brought motions on March 24, 2020. The father’s request included what was described as an urgent access matter as well as financial and property issues. The triage judge allowed the access matter to proceed but determined the financial and property issues were not urgent and did not allow them to proceed.

The father ignored the court’s direction and brought another emergency motion on financial issues just three days later. The same judge addressed this motion, noting the history both parties had of abusing the court process and stated once more that the financial matters were not urgent. The triage judge instructed the father to not bring any further motions on the property or financial issues without leave of the court. The judge added that no such request may be submitted within 60 days of a denied request.

Both parties ignore the court’s direction

The access issue was heard by another judge on March 27, where the judge denied the father’s request due to a lack of sufficient evidence on his part.

Despite the triage judge’s decision, the mother now filed another motion three days later, this time on March 30, 2020. Once again, the request included both financial and access issues. The same triage judge issued a decision on these applications and did not have much patience for the father. Both matters were denied by the judge. The financial issue was denied because it was in direct contravention of the March 27, 2020 decision. The access issue was denied because, as the triage judge noted, the issue should be something the parents can sort out without the need of the courts.

The triage judge left the parents with a stern warning about the possibility of being labeled vexatious litigants, writing,  

“We are rapidly approaching the stage where one or both of these parties may come to be identified as vexatious litigants.  The consequences of such a determination would be quite harsh.  For the moment, both parties should be aware that if they keep bringing inappropriate urgent motions, we may simply have no choice but to ignore them.

“I would again urge both parties to use some commen sense and stop abusing extremely limited judicial resources.”

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