T.L.F. v. E.J.F., 2008 BCCA 2

JudgeHuddart, Saunders and Chiasson, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (British Columbia)
Case DateNovember 16, 2007
JurisdictionBritish Columbia
Citations2008 BCCA 2;(2008), 250 B.C.A.C. 57 (CA)

T.L.F. v. E.J.F. (2008), 250 B.C.A.C. 57 (CA);

    416 W.A.C. 57

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2008] B.C.A.C. TBEd. JA.028

T.L.F. (plaintiff) v. E.J.F. (respondent/defendant)

(CA034966; 2008 BCCA 2)

Indexed As: T.L.F. v. E.J.F.

British Columbia Court of Appeal

Huddart, Saunders and Chiasson, JJ.A.

January 4, 2008.

Summary:

A father applied to have a mother found in contempt of access provisions in prior court orders, and for specific access to the children of the marriage.

The British Columbia Supreme Court, in a decision reported at [2007] B.C.T.C. Uned. 706, found the mother in contempt. The court held that the awarding of costs was sufficient penalty. The court set costs at Scale B. The court also ordered full indemnity for the bills that the father had paid to Dr. LaTorre and Dr. Peel, two counsellors whose work had ultimately led to a reconciliation between the father and his daughters, and a resumption of access. The mother appealed the finding of contempt.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Editor's Note: Certain names in the following case have been initialized or the case otherwise edited to prevent the disclosure of identities where required by law, publication ban, Maritime Law Book's editorial policy or otherwise.

Contempt - Topic 8

General - General principles - Purpose of contempt power - A father applied to have a mother found in contempt of access provisions in prior court orders, and for specific access to the children of the marriage - A chambers judge found the mother in contempt and held that the awarding of costs was sufficient penalty - The mother appealed - In separate concurring reasons, Chiasson, J.A., of the British Columbia Court of Appeal, stated "I do not agree with the concept that the purpose of the contempt finding was to bring home to the mother that she should give access, although it is a most desirable ancillary result. The primary purpose of a contempt finding, the requirement that the contempt be purged and whatever penalty is imposed is to drive home the essential obligation that court orders must be obeyed. My colleague's reasons reflect this; the chambers judge's do not. The chambers judge stated 'the awarding of costs [was] sufficient penalty' ... Although I do not suggest that it was necessary to impose any particular penalty on the mother, a matter within the discretion of the chambers judge, in my view it was an error to equate the payment of costs with a penalty for contempt ... Costs is a matter between litigants. A contempt penalty is a matter between a person or entity and the court. ... a finding of contempt 'transcends the dispute between the parties'" - See paragraphs 35 and 36.

Contempt - Topic 684

What constitutes contempt - Judgments and orders - Disobedience of or non-compliance with - A mother was found in contempt of access provisions in prior court orders - She appealed, claiming that she had been concerned about child abuse and consequential Ministerial intervention after the closing of the Ministry file - The British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that "Deliberate disobedience of a court order is not justified by a quandary. The entire purpose of civil contempt is to bring about compliance with an order. When a parent brings a motion that the other parent is in contempt of a court order for access, the essence of the complaint is that his or her visiting rights have not been respected and that the custodial parent has not facilitated visits that permit the child to have a relationship with the other parent. A parent facing a contempt application may avoid the consequences of a finding of contempt by doing everything possible to ensure access happens. Alternatively, the custodial parent can seek a variation of the access order by establishing a change of circumstance since the order was made such that the access ordered is no longer in the child's best interests. The mother's proper course, if she continued to be concerned about child abuse and consequential Ministerial intervention after the closing of the Ministry file, was to seek a variation of that order. Evidence of the quandary, if accepted as real by the chambers judge, was relevant only to penalty." - See paragraph 26.

Contempt - Topic 2606

Defences - Justification - [See Contempt - Topic 684 ].

Contempt - Topic 3301

Punishment - General (incl. considerations) - [See Contempt - Topic 8 ].

Contempt - Topic 5115

Practice - Hearing - Costs - [See Contempt - Topic 8 ].

Family Law - Topic 2175

Custody and access - Enforcement of orders - Contempt proceedings - [See Contempt - Topic 8 and Contempt - Topic 684 ].

Cases Noticed:

Ebrahim v. Ebrahim (2000), 139 B.C.A.C. 307; 227 W.A.C. 307; 77 B.C.L.R.(3d) 70; 2000 BCCA 398, refd to. [para. 24].

North Vancouver (District) v. Sorrenti (2004), 198 B.C.A.C. 282; 324 W.A.C. 282; 29 B.C.L.R.(4th) 214; 2004 BCCA 316, refd to. [para. 24].

United Nurses of Alberta v. Alberta (Attorney General), [1992] 1 S.C.R. 901; 135 N.R. 321; 125 A.R. 241; 14 W.A.C. 241, refd to. [paras. 24, 32].

Miller v. Knox (1838), 4 Bing NC 574 (Ch. Prac. Reg.), refd to. [para. 32].

Magder (Paul) Furs Ltd. et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General) (No. 2) (1992), 57 O.A.C. 145; 10 O.R.(3d) 46 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 33].

Dickie v. Dickie (2006), 206 O.A.C. 257; 78 O.R.(3d) 1 (C.A.), revsd. (2007), 357 N.R. 196; 221 O.A.C. 394; 2007 SCC 8, refd to. [para. 33].

Weston v. Courts Administrator of the Central Criminal Court, [1976] 2 All E.R. 875 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 36].

Counsel:

E. Bowes, for the appellant;

G. Thomas, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard at Vancouver, B.C., on November 16, 2007, by Huddart, Saunders and Chiasson, JJ.A., of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The court delivered its reasons for decision on January 4, 2008, which included the following opinions:

Huddart, J.A. (Saunders, J.A., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 28;

Chiasson, J.A. - see paragraphs 29 to 37.

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53 cases
  • Glase v. Glase,
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (British Columbia)
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    ...v. Alberta (Attorney General), [1992] 1 S.C.R. 901; 135 N.R. 321; 125 A.R. 241; 14 W.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 7]. T.L.F. v. E.J.F. (2008), 250 B.C.A.C. 57; 416 W.A.C. 57; 47 R.F.L.(6th) 286; 2008 BCCA 2, refd to. [para. 8]. Magder (Paul) Furs Ltd. et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General) (No. ......
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    • November 12, 2021
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    ...(Sup. Ct. Fam. Ct.), refd to. [para. 113]. S.P.-D. v. P.B.D., [2007] O.T.C. 1808 (Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 113]. T.L.F. v. E.J.F. (2008), 250 B.C.A.C. 57; 416 W.A.C. 57; 2008 BCCA 2, refd to. [para. Salloum v. Salloum (1994), 154 A.R. 65 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 119]. Gabb v. Gabb (2001), ......
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