9.1: Form of judgments and orders
9.2: Preparation of judgments and orders
9.5: Entry of judgments and orders
10.52: Declaration of civil contempt

Case Summary

The Plaintiff sued his landlord. Leading to Trial, the Court ordered that the Plaintiff was to provide records to the Defendant; he failed to comply with the Court’s Order and was held in contempt. The Defendant was granted leave to apply to strike out the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim if the records were not provided by June 17, 2016. The Defendant did not prepare the resulting Order in a timely way, and the Plaintiff applied to hold the Defendant in contempt.

Justice Veit noted that, pursuant to Rule 9.2(1), the Court may direct which party should prepare a draft Judgment or Order, but if the Court does not do so, the successful party should prepare the draft and, pursuant to Rule 9.2(2)(a), serve the proposed form of Order within 10 days of the decision being rendered. Under Rule 9.5(2), a Judgment or Order must be entered, by filing it with the Court Clerk within 3 months of its pronouncement, except with the Court’s permission. Justice Veit stated that the breach of a Rule is not, on its own, a basis for contempt. Veit J. noted that contempt constitutes a deliberate breach of an Order or Rule, and that most Rules can be extended by consent or by the Court. Justice Veit explained that a Court has various options upon reviewing evidence of the failure to comply with a Rule: it can forgive the breach in the circumstances; require the breaching Party to comply (usually within a certain time period); or, hold the offending Party in contempt.

Justice Veit held that the Defendant’s lawyer failed to comply with Rules 9.2 and 9.5, but the failure did not amount to contempt. The failure to comply did not cause prejudice to the Plaintiff, and could be rectified by a new Order. Her Ladyship therefore ordered that the 10 day limit did not apply in the present case, approved the form of Order presented by the Defendant’s lawyer which the Plaintiff did not object to, and granted leave to the Defendants to file the Order even though more than 3 months had passed by since the Decision was initially made.

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