NWT Public Service Assoc. v. NWT, (1979) 21 A.R. 1 (NWTCA)

JudgeMorrow, Laycraft and Harradence, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Northwest Territories)
Case DateNovember 09, 1979
JurisdictionNorthwest Territories
Citations(1979), 21 A.R. 1 (NWTCA)

NWT Public Service Assoc. v. NWT (1979), 21 A.R. 1 (NWTCA)

MLB headnote and full text

Northwest Territories Public Service Association and Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Northwest Territories, Government of and Flieger and Bates

(336)

Indexed As: Northwest Territories Public Service Association and Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Northwest Territories, Flieger and Bates

Northwest Territories Court of Appeal

Morrow, Laycraft and Harradence, JJ.A.

November 9, 1979.

Summary:

This case arose out of charges of contempt of court against a lawyer employed by the Government of the Northwest Territories and an employee of the Government of the Northwest Territories. A union applied for an interim injunction to restrain the Northwest Territories from breaching a collective agreement. The application was adjourned sine die when counsel (Flieger) for the Government of the Northwest Territories and an employee of the Government of the Northwest Territories undertook to "refrain from implementing or making any changes" in specified items in a subsisting collective agreement "until such time as the arbitrability of the issue is determined" - see paragraph 13. Both Flieger and the employee advised the Government of the Northwest Territories to enact legislation which dealt with the specified items in the collective agreement referred to in the undertaking. Flieger and the employee were charged with a breach of their undertaking to the court. The Northwest Territories Supreme Court, Trial Division convicted both the employee and Flieger and sentenced each to a fine of $500.00. The judgment of the Trial Division is reported below - see paragraphs 62 to 197. The employee and Flieger appealed to the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal.

The Northwest Territories Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and quashed the convictions because the advice by the accused to the Government of the Northwest Territories did not constitute a breach of the undertaking to the court and because such an undertaking cannot be construed as being intended to interfere with the legislative powers of the Northwest Territories - see paragraph 27.

Morrow, J.A., dissenting, in the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal, would have dismissed the appeal and would have affirmed the convictions of the employee and Flieger.

Contempt - Topic 1164

What constitutes contempt - Counsel - Undertakings by counsel - What constitutes a breach of an undertaking - A union applied for an interim injunction to restrain the Northwest Territories from breaching a collective agreement - The application was adjourned sine die when counsel (Flieger) for the Government of the Northwest Territories undertook to "refrain from implementing or making any changes" in specified items in the subsisting collective agreement "until such time as the arbitrability of the issue is determined" - See paragraph 13 - Upon the advice of counsel (Flieger) for the Northwest Territories, the Northwest Territories enacted legislation which dealt with the specified items in the collective agreement referred to in the undertaking - The Northwest Territories Court of Appeal held that Flieger was not guilty of contempt of court because her advice to the Government of the Northwest Territories did not breach the undertaking and because such an undertaking cannot be construed as being intended to interfere with the legislative powers of the Northwest Territories - See paragraph 27.

Contempt - Topic 5083

Practice - Evidence and proof - Burden of proof - The Northwest Territories Court of Appeal stated that a charge of civil contempt must be defined with particularity and must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt - See paragraph 29.

Barristers and Solicitors - Topic 961

Duty to court - Undertakings - The Northwest Territories Supreme Court referred to the nature of an undertaking by counsel to a court - See paragraphs 85 to 89.

Contempt - Topic 2644

Defences - Particular defences, acting on legal advice - The Northwest Territories Supreme Court stated that acting on bad legal advice is not a defence to a charge of contempt of court - See paragraph 176.

Contempt - Topic 684

What constitutes contempt - Disobedience of judgments or orders of a court - The Northwest Territories Supreme Court stated that disobedience of court orders or undertakings constitues civil contempt - See paragraph 183.

Cases Noticed:

Geoffrey Silver & Drake v. Baines, [1971] 1 Q.B. 396; 1 All E.R. 473, refd to. [paras. 23, 52, 85].

Re Hilliard; ex parte Smith (1845), 2 Dow & L 919; 14 L.J.Q.B. 225, refd to. [paras. 23, 52, 87].

R. v. Carter (1975), 28 C.C.C.(2d) 219, refd to. [paras. 30, 130].

Re Bramblevale Ltd., [1970] Ch. 128, refd to. [paras. 30, 136].

Redwing Ltd. v. Redwing Forest Products (1947), 177 L.T. 387, refd to. [para. 30].

Glazer v. Union Contractors (1960), 34 W.W.R. 193, refd to. [paras. 30, 38].

United Telephone Co. v. Dale (1884), 25 Ch. D. 778, refd to. [para. 38].

D.V.A. & Co., [1900] 1 Ch. 484, refd to. [para. 38].

Re Grey, [1892] 2 Q.B. 440, refd to. [paras. 23, 52, 86].

R. v. Rowbotham (No. 2) (1978), 2 C.R.(3d) 223, refd to. [paras. 52, 88].

Milburn v. Newton Colliery (LIM) (1908), 52 Sol. Jo. 317, refd to. [para. 53].

Neath Canal Company v. Ynisarwed Resolven Colliery Company (1875), 10 Ch. App. 450, refd to. [para. 53].

Cutler v. Wandsworth Stadium Ltd., [1945] 1 All E.R. 103, refd to. [para. 54].

Bilston Corporation v. Wolverhampton Corporation, [1942] 1 Ch. 391, refd to. [para. 57].

In re Coolgardie Goldfields, Limited; In re Cannon, Son & Morten, [1900] 1 Ch. 475; 69 L.J. Ch. 215, refd to. [para. 87].

Standard Trust Co. v. Szlachetka et al., [1919] 3 W.W.R. 614, refd to. [para. 87].

Glazer v. Union Contractors Limited & Thornton (1960), 33 W.W.R. 145, refd to. [paras. 115, 146].

Arrow Motors Ltd. v. Carter (1969), 3 D.L.R.(3d) 756, refd to. [para. 118].

Re Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union, Local No. 955 v. Morris Rod Weeder Co. Ltd. et al. (1973), 38 D.L.R.(3d) 419, refd to. [para. 127].

Balacko v. Eaton's of Canada Limited (1967), 60 W.W.R. 22, refd to. [para. 127].

Pollard v. Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Hong Kong (1868), L.R. 2 P.C. 106, refd to. [para. 128].

Williams v. Rice, [1924] 3 W.W.R. 11, refd to. [para. 129].

Re R. and Menard (1972), 9 C.C.C.(2d) 15, refd to. [para. 130].

R. v. Hill, [1974] 5 W.W.R. 1, refd to. [para. 130].

Tony Poje et al. v. Attorney General for British Columbia, [1953] S.C.R. 516, refd to. [para. 135].

Coulthard v. Coulthard (1952), 5 W.W.R. 662, refd to. [para. 137].

Vauxhall Estates Ltd. v. Liverpool Corporation (1932), 1 K.R. 733, refd to. [para. 144].

Chamberlist v. Collins et al. (1962), 39 W.W.R. 65; 34 D.L.R.(2d) 414, refd to. [para. 144].

Royal Bank of Canada v. Scott (1971), 4 W.W.R. 491, refd to. [para. 144].

Central Canada Potash et al. v. A.G. for Sask. et al., [1975] 5 W.W.R. 193, refd to. [para. 144].

R. v. Baines, [1909] 1 K.B. 258, refd to. [para. 145].

R. v. Allerton, [1914] 6 W.W.R. 522, refd to. [para. 145].

Eastern Trust Co. and McKenzie, Mann & Co. Ltd., [1915] A.C. 750, refd to. [para. 146].

Re Borowski, [1971] 3 W.W.R. 434, refd to. [para. 146].

Re Ouellet (1976), 67 D.L.R.(3d) 73, refd to. [para. 146].

Glazer v. Union Contractors Ltd. and Gaglardi (1960), 33 W.W.R. 160, refd to. [paras. 149, 167, 172].

Re Canadian Broadcasting Corp., [1958] O.R. 55; 27 C.R. 165; 120 C.C.C. 84, refd to. [para. 149].

Morris v. Tolman, [1923] 1 K.B. 166, refd to. [para. 160].

Seaward v. Paterson, [1897] 1 Ch. 545, refd to. [para. 162].

Davis v. Barlow (1911), 18 W.L.R. 239, refd to. [para. 167].

Cutler v. Wandsworth Stadium Ltd., [1945] 1 All E.R. 103, refd to. [para. 173].

Re Solicitor, [1971] 1 W.W.R. 529, refd to. [para. 173].

Deare v. Att. Gen. (1835), 1 Y. & C. 197, refd to. [para. 175].

Peers v. Ceeley (1852), 15 Beav. 207, refd to. [para. 176].

Acro (Automation) Ltd. v. Rex Chainbelt In. and another, [1971] 3 All E.R. 1175, refd to. [para. 183].

Statutes Noticed:

Rules of Court (N.T.), Rule 703 [para. 183].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Borrie & Lowe, The Law of Contempt, pp. 314 [para. 174]; 325 [paras. 53, 89].

Holdsworth's, A History of English Law, Vol. 11, p. 359 [para. 57]; Vol. 6, page 234 [para. 151].

Wigmore on Evidence (3rd Ed.), Vol. 8, p. 70 [para. 119].

Lund, Thomas G., Lectures on Professional Conduct and Etiquette [para. 173].

Counsel:

Duncan W. Shaw, for Patricia Flieger and Robin Bates.

The judgment of the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal was delivered at Yellowknife, N.W.T., on November 9, 1979 and the following opinions were filed:

LAYCRAFT, J.A. - See paragraphs 1 to 39.

MORROW, J.A., dissenting - See paragraphs 40 to 61.

HARRADENCE, J.A., concurred with LAYCRAFT, J.A.

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