One Sunday each month OnPoint Legal Research provides Slaw with an extended summary of, and counsel’s commentary on, an important case from the British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario court of appeal.
Hansra v. Hansra, 2017 BCCA 199
AREAS OF LAW: Family law; Special costs; Rehearing; Limits of discretion
~ A judge’s discretion to reopen a matter, while broad, is not unfettered. It is governed by established principles. ~
This was a family law case that resulted in a special costs order against the Respondent, Jagtar Singh Hansra. The Appellant, Puran Jote Hansra, sought a reapportionment of assets in her favour on the basis that the Respondent had failed to make full disclosure with respect to his assets in India. The trial judge released his reasons for judgment on May 1, 2015, and put the issue of costs over to permit the parties to make additional submissions. The judge made an order for divorce and dealt with matters such as where the children would live, sale of the matrimonial home, and division of assets, but he expressly made no order with respect to spousal support. The judge found that two properties in India were not family assets but, due to a lack of disclosure, he was unable to make a finding with respect to what other assets and bank accounts the Respondent might have in India. The judge found the evidence “murky” and was unable to value the Respondent’s assets without more evidence or disclosure. On June 24, 2015, the parties argued the issue of costs before the judge. They also sought direction with respect to certain other matters. The judge released reasons for judgment on costs on August 7, 2015. He awarded special costs to the Appellant and noted conduct on the Respondent’s part that raised credibility concerns. The judge also found that the Respondent had been non-compliant with disclosure orders. He found the Respondent’s conduct deserving of rebuke, noting that it went beyond non-compliance to unilateral meddling with rents and credit cards, as well as business sabotage. On September 18, 2015, the Respondent sent an email to the Supreme Court registry asking for a hearing to ask the judge to “reconsider and rescind the order for special costs”. The hearing took place on November 10 and December 3, 2015. In written submissions, the Respondent asserted that he had been more successful than the Appellant at trial and with respect to the directions sought at the June 24, 2015 hearing. He said he had not acted in...