WADE v WADE, 2021 ABQB 865


6.3: Applications generally
10.51: Order to appear
10.52: Declaration of civil contempt

Case Summary

The Court needed to determine what the process for obtaining an Order finding a party in Civil Contempt was. The Applicant asserted that its Application set the stage for a contempt finding. The Respondents stated that the relief sought in the Application was limited to a show-cause Order, with a contempt finding (if any) necessarily downstream.

Arising from non-compliance of a prior order of the Court, the Applicant filed an Application, styled, in part, under Form 27, Rules 6.3 (which lays out the requirement for Applications), and 10.52(1), (which discusses requirements for an Application seeking a declaration of civil contempt). The Applicant sought an Order pursuant to Rule 10.51 for the Respondents to appear before the Court to show cause that they should not be held in civil contempt of Court. The Respondents argued that compliance of the prior Order was not possible and that no contempt findings could be made at the hearing of the Application, given the clear show-cause nature of the relief sought, as opposed to determination of contempt.

The Court noted that an interested person perceiving that another or others are in civil contempt faces a two-stage process: (1) an initial application (per Rule 10.51) where allegations of contempt are raised and, if apparent or ostensible contempt is shown, a “show cause” order can be issued; and (2) the “show cause” hearing itself, conducted pursuant to Rule 10.52.

The express wording of the Application described “remedy” as a Rule 10.51 “show cause” Order. Accordingly, the Court found that it was at the stage of determining whether a Show-Cause Order should be issued. The Court then issued an Order that directed the Respondents to appear before Lema J to show cause why they should not be declared to be in civil contempt of Court.

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