BAKER v BAKER, 2014 ABQB 710

master schlosser

10.52: Declaration of civil contempt
13.38: Judge’s fiat

Case Summary

Two matters came before the Court by way of Applications for Fiats. Due to the incapability of the Defendant to provide Dower consent to a Transfer of Land, a Fiat was granted authorizing the Transfer without Dower consent. The Land Titles Office refused to file the document. A Fiat was then granted allowing a certified copy of an Enduring Power of Attorney to be filed at the Land Titles Office, rather than the original. The Registrar refused to file the copy, requiring the Fiat to be on the back of the document rather than on the Notarial Certificate which was attached to the Power of Attorney.

Master Schlosser stated that a Fiat is an Order of the Court, in accordance with Rule 13.38 (and former Rules 338 and 393). The refusal to file the documents in accordance with the Fiat was a refusal to obey an Order of the Court, which was prima facie contempt, per Rule 10.52. In both instances the failure to follow these Orders meant that Counsel had to re-attend in Chambers, which harmed a member of the public by causing them to incur additional legal fees. It also squandered the Court’s time. Like any other Order, an Application could have been made to set a Fiat aside. However, simply refusing to follow an Order was not an option. Master Schlosser stated that Costs or a Form 47 - Order to Appear would follow if the Registrar of the Land Title Office refused to file the documents again.

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