NOWACZYNSKI v STEWART, 2018 ABQB 12
10.52: Declaration of civil contempt
10.53: Punishment for civil contempt of Court
The Applicant, Stewart, asked the Court to find the Respondent, Nowaczynski, in contempt of court for the breach of two Orders relating to child support.
Justice Khullar laid out the three elements of civil contempt which must be established beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. The order that is alleged to have been breached must state clearly and unequivocally what should and should not be done.
2. The party alleged to have breached the order must have actual knowledge of the court order.
3. The party alleged to have breached the order must have intentionally done the act that the order prohibits or failed to do the act which the order requires, without adequate excuse — it is not necessary to prove an intention to breach the order itself.
Justice Khullar noted that the Court’s power to find a party in contempt is discretionary, and hearsay is not admissible because contempt is in the nature of a final order. The use of contempt to obtain compliance with Orders should be applied only with caution “and with great restraint”.
Khullar J. found that the Respondent had no knowledge of an Order relating to dispersing funds from the sale of his house, and as such the application for contempt on those grounds was dismissed. Justice Khullar also found that the Respondent had provided the Applicant with information relating to the sale of his home that complied in substance with the requirement for an accounting of proceeds under the terms of one of the Orders. As such, the Application for contempt was dismissed.
However, the Court noted that the Respondent had not complied with the terms of an Order to provide information about his employment to the Applicant. Justice Khullar therefore set a date for the provision of the information, failing which the Respondent was required to attend in Court to show cause why he should not be found in contempt.View CanLII Details