Mah J

1.1: What these rules do
1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
1.3: General authority of the Court to provide remedies
4.33: Dismissal for long delay

Case Summary

The self-represented Plaintiff appealed the Decision of a Master dismissing his Action for long delay pursuant to Rule 4.33. The Plaintiff commenced the litigation following a single vehicle rollover collision which he claimed was caused by a faulty tire.

Justice Mah confirmed the Master’s finding that the last action taken in the litigation by any of the parties was on July 13, 2013. The Plaintiff suggested that at all times he was willing and available to resume proceedings but that the Defendants had failed to contact him. The Plaintiff argued that the Master had erred in applying Rule 4.33 in isolation, and that the Master failed to consider Rules 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3.

Justice Mah noted that Rule 4.33 provides that the Court, on Application, must dismiss an Action where three or more years have passed without a significant advance, absent certain exceptions. Mah J. stated that Rules 1.1 and 1.3 provided no additional insight into how Rule 4.33 should be applied in this case. Regarding the connection between Rule 1.2 and Rule 4.33, Justice Mah, following prior leading Alberta authority, noted that Rule 1.2 does not “override the clear mandatory language of rule 4.33”, and the Plaintiff must take the initiative to actively advance its claim.

His Lordship noted that Rule 1.1(2) was relevant to the Plaintiff’s position that the standards under Rule 4.33 should be relaxed because he was not a lawyer and his argument before the Master was “substandard”. Mah J. stated that the Court may not bend or ignore the Rules for self-represented litigants as that would be

…tantamount to having one set of rules for litigants with counsel and a different set for self-represented litigants, a situation that no coherent system of justice could tolerate and which would be clearly contrary to Rule 1.1(2).

Justice Mah held that the Master did not err with respect to applying Rule 4.33 to strike the claim for delay, nor with respect to Costs. The Appeal was dismissed.

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