10.52: Declaration of civil contempt

Case Summary

The Appellants sought to overturn the striking of their Pleadings and the Judgment granted thereafter. The Pleadings were struck because of repeated convictions for Contempt of Court. The Respondents moved to Stay the Appeal because of unpurged Contempts of Court by the Appellants.

The Court noted that some of the matters not purged were failures to pay fines, and given the words "other than an order to pay money" in Rule 10.52(3)(a)(i) this may not give rise to Contempt. However, there were other Contempts not purged relating to disobeying Orders to provide information.

The Court held that the general rule is that a party still in Contempt should not be able to invoke the Court's processes to seek positive relief. The Court also held that it is especially dangerous to allow someone in Contempt to invoke the Court's aid when the Contempt relates in some way to the same litigation. If this were not so, a litigant could pick and choose which parts of civil procedure or Court Orders to follow. The Application was stayed until the Appellants could prove to a Justice of the Court of Appeal that they were no longer in Contempt and, additionally, Security for Costs had to be paid.

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