STACKARD v 1256009 ALBERTA LTD, 2020 ABCA 460


1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
4.14: Authority of case management judge

Case Summary

The Court of Appeal heard an Application for permission to appeal an Order of the Case Management Justice which held that an Application that the Respondents were in Contempt of Court (the “Contempt Application”) could be heard at the Trial of the matter. The Court of Appeal stated that both the Application for permission to appeal and the Appeal would be heard at the same time.

The underlying litigation involved a dispute between two estates which had been under Case Management since 2016. The Appellant represented the estate of the parties’ mother, while the Respondents were, among others, the estate of the parties’ brother who had predeceased their mother. The dispute began when the mother transferred a vendor take-back mortgage to the Respondent corporation, which was owned by the deceased Respondent brother. Thus, litigation over ownership of this mortgage ensued amongst the siblings upon the Respondent brother’s death.

The Contempt Application arose out of the Respondents’ breach of a Consent Order which precluded them from using any proceeds from the mortgage until its ownership was fully determined. To further complicate the matter, the Respondents to the Contempt Application had also cross-applied for Security for Costs.

The Court of Appeal noted that the essence of the Appeal was whether the Case Management Judge had the discretion to direct that the Contempt Application matter could be heard at Trial. The Court considered Rule 1.2 in light of the fact that the matter had been under case management for 4 ½ years, and found that directing that the Contempt Application matter be heard at Trial, as Rule 4.14(1)(d) allows, was a valid discretionary measure by the Case Management Judge to prevent the parties from further delaying the Action. In the same vein, the Court found that the Case Management Judge’s direction would better lead to the fair and efficient resolution of litigation in accordance with the foundational Rules. Moreover, the Court noted that Rule 4.14(1)(f) permits a Case Management Judge to make any procedural Order they consider necessary; providing further basis for the Case Management Judge’s Order. As such, the Appeal was dismissed.

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