Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Rule of Law; Vexatious litigants; a clear dismissal of Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Arguments

In the 180 page decision decided in 2012 in Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571 the Honourable Associate Chief Justice J.D. Rooke elucidates the history of what Justice Rooke describes as Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument Litigants.  Justice Rooke starts his decision by quoting from Thomas Hobbes Leviathan:

"Where there is no common power, there is no law, where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues. ... The laws are of no power to protect them, without a sword in the hands of a man, or men, to cause those laws to be put in execution. ... And law was brought into the world for nothing else but to limit the natural liberty of particular men in such manner as they might not hurt, but assist one another, and join together against a common enemy."

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Forgotten Books, 2008), at pp. 87, 147, 184

Justice Rooke then articulates clearly in the first paragraph the difficulty posed by OPCA litigants:

[1] This Court has developed a new awareness and understanding of a category of vexatious litigant. As we shall see, while there is often a lack of homogeneity, and some individuals or groups have no name or special identity, they (by their own admission or by descriptions given by others) often fall into the following descriptions: Detaxers; Freemen or Freemen-on-the-Land; Sovereign Men or Sovereign Citizens; Church of the Ecumenical Redemption International (CERI); Moorish Law; and other labels - there is no closed list. In the absence of a better moniker, I have collectively labelled them as Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument litigants ["OPCA litigants"], to functionally define them collectively for what they literally are. These persons employ a collection of techniques and arguments promoted and sold by'gurus' to disrupt court operations and to attempt to frustrate the legal rights of governments, corporations, and individuals.

The submissions made by one of the litigants inspired Justice Rooke to do a global review of the sociology and law relating to OPCA; Justice Rooke stated:

[53] There is a third reason for a broad-based decision and analysis. It so happens that Mr. Meads has provided a remarkable and well developed assortment of OPCA documents, concepts, materials, and strategies. These materials also illustrate particular idiosyncrasies that this and other Courts have identified as associated with the OPCA community and OPCA litigation. Phrased differently, Mr. Meads= materials and approach provide an ideal type specimen for examination and commentary, which should be instructive to other OPCA litigants who have been taken in by these ideas, opposing parties and their counsel, as well as gurus.

[54] Mr. Meads' submissions also make an excellent subject for a global review of the law concerning OPCA, the OPCA community and its gurus, and how the court, lawyers, and litigants should respond to these vexatious practices and the persons who advance and advocate these techniques and ideas. In this sense, the present case management allows the litigation between Mr. and Ms. Meads to explore the OPCA community and its concepts, for the benefit of this and other Canadian Courts, and litigants appearing before the courts.

[55] I will use Mr. Meads' materials and arguments to illustrate many points in this review. Those materials will be supplemented from several sources. First, I review judgments from this and other Courts that report on OPCA strategies and court responses to OPCA litigants.

The balance of the case is good reading for those interesting in informing themselves about:

"The OPCA Phenomenon";
"Indicia of OPCA Litigants, Litigation, and Strategies"; and
"Judicial Response to OPCA Concepts and Arguments".

Justice Rooke concludes under the heading Summary and Direction and encourages litigants to review his comments and hope that in doing so this "will lead them to more productive and successful interaction with the courts, government and their fellow citizens:

[66] There is no place in Canadian courts for anyone who advances OPCA concepts. The last part of these Reasons suggests how judges, lawyers, and litigants may respond to persons who adopt and advance these concepts. I also comment directly to those in the OPCA community - both gurus and their followers - with the hope that these Reasons will lead them to more productive and successful interaction with the courts, government, and their fellow citizens.