TO BE IN CONTEMPT OR NOT TO BE IN CONTEMPT REGARDING ORDERS REQUIRING PAYMENTS OF MONEY – THAT IS THE QUESTION PART I OF II

August 1, 2007 Hull & Hull LLP Archived BLOG POSTS - Hull on Estates, Litigation Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

In Forest v. Lacroix Estate (2000), 187 D.L.R. (4th) 280, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“C.A.”) affirmed that Rule 60.11 contempt orders cannot be used to enforce orders for payment of money. 

In Forest, a testator had named his son trustee and sole beneficiary of his estate having no provisions for his common-law wife of 19 years. Despite there being an order specifically prohibiting the dissipation of the estate, the son dissipated a significant amount of the estate assets. The Trial Judge having made a finding of contempt, ordered the son committed to jail for 9 months unless he purged contempt within 28 days by paying the common-law wife. The Court of Appeal noted, following a review of the law, that there are other means by which support orders can be enforced.    

In 2002, the C.A. in Murano v. Murano, [2002] O.J. No. 3632 relied on the reasoning in Forest and held that there was no exception for family law matters. 

In today’s and tomorrow’s blog I will touch upon the case of Dickie v. Dickie, [2007] S.C.J. No. 8, [2006] 78 O.R. (3d)1 (Ont. C.A.), in which the C.A. and Supreme Court of Canada (“S.C.C”) deal with the availability of a contempt motion in respect of the failure of a party to comply with alleged orders requiring the payment of money.

Today’s blog will set out the background to Dickie; tomorrow’s blog will deal with the decisions of the C.A. and the S.C.C.

The case involves a dispute between husband and wife. Before the C.A. was the appeal by the husband from an order finding him in contempt of Court for failing to comply with orders requiring him to secure support obligations by providing an irrevocable letter of credit and to post security for costs. The motion Judge imposed a sentence of 45 days in jail for that contempt, which the husband served immediately. The husband pursued his appeal arguing that the motion’s Judge had no jurisdiction under Rule 60.11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure to make a contempt order because the underlying orders were orders requiring him to make a payment of money.  The wife brought a preliminary motion before the C.A. submitting that the Court should refuse to entertain the appeal because of the husband’s wilful disregard for orders of the Court.

Thanks for reading. Part II tomorrow.

Craig

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