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If, on application by any person, the court is satisfied that a person has habitually, persistently and without reasonable grounds, instituted vexatious legal proceedings in the Supreme Court or in the Provincial Court against the same or different persons, the court may, after hearing that person or giving him or her an opportunity to be heard, order that a legal proceeding must not, without leave of the court, be instituted by that person in any court.Section 29 of the BC Court of Appeal Act says pretty much the same thing:
If, on the application of any person, a justice is satisfied that a person has habitually, persistently and without reasonable cause commenced vexatious proceedings in the court, the justice may, after hearing that person or giving that person an opportunity to be heard, order that proceedings must not be brought or commenced in the court without leave of a justice.(Making things even better — or even worse, depending on your perspective — s. 221(1) of BC's new Family Law Act says that a judge can make an order:
A court may make an order prohibiting a party from making further applications or continuing a proceeding without leave of the court if satisfied that the partyUnder s. 221(2)(c), the judge can also order that the person pay the expenses of another party resulting from this sort of misbehaviour, pay up to $5,000 to someone affected by the person's conduct or pay a fine of up to $5,000.)(a) has made an application that is trivial,
(b) is conducting a proceeding in a manner that is a misuse of the court process, or
(c) is otherwise acting in a manner that frustrates or misuses the court process.
"(a) the bringing of one or more actions to determine an issue which has already been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction constitutes a vexatious proceeding;
(Starting a lawsuit about a problem that a court has already decided may be vexatious;)
"(b) where it is obvious that an action cannot succeed, or if the action would lead to no possible good, or if no reasonable person can reasonably expect to obtain relief, the action is vexatious;
(starting a lawsuit that is obviously doomed to fail may be vexatious;)
"(c) vexatious actions include those brought for an improper purpose, including the harassment and oppression of other parties by multifarious proceedings brought for purposes other than the assertion of legitimate rights;
(starting a lawsuit just to harass someone, not because you have a genuine problem, may be vexatious;)
"(d) it is a general characteristic of vexatious proceedings that grounds and issues raised tend to be rolled forward into subsequent actions and repeated and supplemented, often with actions brought against the lawyers who have acted for or against the litigant in earlier proceedings;
(recycling the same complaints and problems in lawsuit after lawsuit suggests that the litigation is vexatious;)
"(e) in determining whether proceedings are vexatious, the court must look at the whole history of the matter and not just whether there was originally a good cause of action;
(the court should look at everything that has gone on in the litigation to date, and not just look at whether the original lawsuit was reasonable, to decide if the litigation is vexatious;)
"(f) the failure of the person instituting the proceedings to pay the costs of unsuccessful proceedings is one factor to be considered in determining whether proceedings are vexatious;
(failing to pay court-ordered costs suggests that the litigation is vexatious; and,)
"(g) the respondent's conduct in persistently taking unsuccessful appeals from judicial decisions can be considered vexatious conduct of legal proceedings."
(bringing lots of losing appeals suggests that the litigation is vexatious.)The court added three points to Re Lang Michener:
" In the Supreme Court, [Extra Gift Exchange] have demonstrated many of the hallmarks of vexatious conduct that were described in [Re Lang Michener]:However, despite these seemingly damning conclusions, the held that:
· They have demonstrated a propensity to re-argue issues that have been decided against them.
· They have brought multiple proceedings of dubious merit replete with unsubstantiated allegations of conspiracy and fraud, that could be described as harassment of the applicants.
· The proceedings seem to roll forward and duplicate proceedings that have already been dismissed or struck.
· Their pleadings have been described as prolix and unintelligible.
· There remain outstanding costs orders."
" I cannot conclude that the conduct in this Court, even informed by their conduct below, has yet risen to the level necessary to grant the order sought. My primary reason for saying so is that the frequency of appeals simply cannot be said to be vexatious. I acknowledge that the appeal in this case appears to have little merit and the factum is difficult to understand. But nevertheless, without a stronger pattern of abusive and vexatious conduct in this Court, I am unable to grant the order sought. I have some considerable sympathy for the position of the Strata. They may of course renew this application should [Extra Gift Exchange] conduct themselves in this Court in a vexatious manner. But so far [Extra Gift Exchange's] conduct does not reach that exceptional level that would merit limiting their access to this Court."Although this decision was sure to disappoint the strata company, the court did note that other remedies were available to it, such as applying for an order that Extra Gift Exchange be require to pay money into court to make sure that funds are set aside to cover any costs order made against Extra Gift Exchange.