MUNICIPAL DISTRICT OF FOOTHILLS 31 v ALSTON, 2023 ABCA 46
ROWBOTHAM, WAKELING AND ANTONIO JJA
1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
4.31: Application to deal with delay
This was an Appeal of a Decision dismissing an Application brought by the Appellant/Defendant under Rule 4.31 to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ claim commenced in 2010.
The Respondents/Plaintiffs argued that the Court ought to make allowances for self-represented litigants as they had not failed to advance the Action to a point on the litigation spectrum that a comparator self-represented litigant would have attained. The Court, however, held that is not the law. All litigants, including those that represent themselves, must conduct themselves in accordance with the Rules. The Court held that Rule 4.31 contains one of the norms used to identify Actions that fail to proceed with appropriate expedition.
With respect to a specific delay period between 2013 and 2015 determined by the Chambers Justice to be attributed to the Appellant, the Court held that it was unable to accept that some of the blame rested with the Appellant. The suggestion that the Appellant could have brought an Application for access to evidence when it thought that such Application would be unnecessary would be a foolish use of resources and introduce delays in contravention of Rule 1.2(2)(b).
Similarly, in relation to delay after 2017, the Court took note that the mere taking of steps is no guard against a finding of inexcusable delay if those steps accomplish little to advance the proceedings. The Parties, especially the Plaintiffs, must do more than participate. Neither simply applying to schedule a Trial, or for Summary Judgment, by themselves, necessarily advance an Action.
The Court allowed the Defendants Appeal and dismissed the Plaintiffs claim.View CanLII Details