Litigant’s filings demanding $32 trillion, 500,000 Tesla shares, audience with Queen are set aside
The Supreme Court of British Columbia has set aside numerous document filings of a self-represented litigant on the basis that the claims made were unreasonable, scandalous, vexatious and otherwise amounting to an abuse of process.
In Chamberlin v Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2021 BCSC 390, the plaintiff alleged that in July 2018 he was riding his bicycle when a car collided with him, causing him physical and emotional injuries. The car did not remain at the scene of the accident, the plaintiff said. In July 2020, the plaintiff, as a self-represented litigant, initiated an action for damages against the defendant Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.
The plaintiff filed six demands in Form 122 under the transitional provisions of the Supreme Court Civil Rules. In his document filings, he sought to add as defendants numerous individuals and organizations, including Her Majesty the Queen, the governor general, the prime minister, the lieutenant governor and the premier and health minister for British Columbia, the Supreme Court of Canada, the B.C. Supreme Court, the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Elections BC, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.
The plaintiff asked the court for many reliefs, including to have a private audience with Her Majesty, to suspend trade with China, to dismantle Transport Canada, to postpone an election, to release classified documents, to reconstruct the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to have a magnetic resonance imaging scan of his entire body, and to be awarded $32 trillion and 500,000 Tesla shares.
The B.C. Supreme Court set aside, under R. 22-7(2)(b), the plaintiff’s six Form 122 demands and their attachments and his petition filed in September 2020, as well as his notice of application filed in February, which included demands that were irregularly filed.
The court declined to issue a vexatious litigant order, stating that the plaintiff was not likely to successfully file any more irregular documents in light of the rescission of AN-1—Document Filing Standards, an administrative notice which restricted the responsibility of registry staff to ensuring that document filings had a registry file number, registry location and style of proceeding.
The court called attention to the potential challenges that may arise if litigants are permitted to file documents when the court has no process implemented to screen such documents for basic conformity with the court’s rules.
Farouk Jiwa, personal injury litigator and founding lawyer of Jiwa Law Corporation, summarized the case in a blog post titled Judge points to BC Court Registry flaw where litigant sought 500,000 Tesla shares as remedy. Jiwa noted that seven counsel appeared before the court and that the parties brought into the proceedings undoubtedly incurred heavy legal fees.
“When I first read this decision my immediate reaction was to question how this case even made it this far,” Jiwa told Canadian Lawyer. “As many lawyers in Canada have experienced, the Court Registry quite frequently rejects filings for the most tedious of errors.”
The case provides insight regarding how lawyers can face difficulties when dealing with certain self-represented litigants and how defendants can incur greater legal fees when facing such self-represented litigants who have filed documents without the assistance of counsel familiar with the court’s rules and without sound legal advice about which parties to name and which remedies to seek, Jiwa said.
Jiwa suggested that B.C. lawyers should keep in mind that, considering the rescission of the administrative notice on Mar. 1, they may face some trial-and-error as the registry returns to a higher level of review.