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The Vexatious Litigant: Repeatedly Abusing the Court System Leads to Significant Hurdles in Bringing a Court Action

July 20th, 2013 — Litigation

The Courts in Ontario are faced with a backlog of cases that is only getting longer. The result is that courts are being booked months in advanced and simply cannot cope with the onslaught of cases. In order to limit some the most frivolous of lawsuits from being brought to court, the Ontario government has given judges a new power to declare a litigant vexatious.

A vexatious litigant will have to get court approval before any new action can be filed with the court. A vexatious litigant faces significant hurdles in order to bring any new actions. On the one hand, this is an extraordinary power that severely limits an individuals ability to bring claims to court.  On the other hand, this is an essential power that the court needs to limit the most egregious situations.

Because the power is so restrictive, the courts generally do not apply the designation unless it is clearly needed. One example is the case of William Malamas who spent 25 years suing various lawyers for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and many more claims. The Ontario Court of Appeal affirmed the vexatious litigant designation for Mr. Malamas and ordered him to pay over $60,000 in costs.  Mr. Malamas’ case illustrates the extraordinary lengths that a litigant must go to before they will be declared vexatious.

With the vexatious litigant power, the Ontario courts have an extraordinary power to limits access to the courts. They will only use it in rare occasions where the facts clearly show a need.

If you have questions about civil litigation or believe that an action is vexatious, you should contact a trained legal professional. They have the expertise to help you navigate through the court system and ensure a successful result.