VUONG VAN TAI HOLDING v ALBERTA (MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND SOLICITOR GENERAL), 2020 ABCA 169
SLATTER, BIELBY AND VELDHUIS JJA
2.23: Assistance before the Court
This was an Appeal of an Order arising from an Apparently Vexatious Application or Proceeding (“AVAP”).
On October 8, 2015, the corporate Appellant, a residential landlord owned by the individual Appellant, commenced a proceeding against a tenant. They were granted an Order against the tenant and demanded that the tenant pay rent or give up possession. The Order stated that the Rules prevent non-lawyers from appearing in Court for corporations and that the individual Appellant should not appear for the corporate Appellant in residential matters “without the written permission of the Honourable Associate Chief Justice.” This Order caused a Clerk of the Court to place the Appellants’ names on a list of litigants who were subject to restrictions.
In February of 2019, the individual Appellant filed an Originating Application on behalf of the corporate Appellant. The Chambers Judge, without notice to the Appellants or without giving them the opportunity to respond, determined that the Originating Application was in contempt of the previous Order, struck the Originating Application and imposed a vexatious litigant Order.
The Court of Appeal found that vexatious litigant Orders should rarely be granted ex parte, the notice of intention to issue the Order was not given to the Attorney General, and that the Order was “a disproportionate reaction to what happened.” This was a singular breach of a previous Order and there was nothing improper about the underlying litigation. Further, Rule 2.23(4) gave the Court the discretion to “allow a right of audience to a non-lawyer”, and as a result, the portion of the October 8, 2015 Order stating that the individual could not appear in Court on behalf of the corporation was rescinded. The Court allowed the Appeal and set aside the vexatious litigant Order.View CanLII Details