It doesn’t happen frequently, thank goodness, but once in a while an in-person litigant will turn the tables, and after attacking their ex-spouse through aggressive litigation tactics, turns their venom on their ex’s lawyer. That’s what happened in the latest chapter of Shih v. Shih 2019 BCSC 1681.
Mr. Shih, a “frequent flyer” in the BC courts, described by the judge as having a “long history of several applications, case conferences, a 2-day settlement conference, settling of orders, a 15-day trial in 2015, a trip to the Court of Appeal, Registrar’s hearings, garnishing orders and other applications”, brought an application seeking an order that his former wife’s lawyer be compelled to respond to his emails, be fined and suspended for failing to respond promptly to his emails, be found in contempt of court for allegedly evading service of Mr. Shih’s application and special costs.
The chambers judge, after outlining the lengthy history of the litigation, summarized Mr. Shih’s core complaint as involving his allegation that his ex’s counsel had ignored three emails from Mr. Shih, refusing to believe her representation that she did not receive them. He also accused her of:
a) fraudulently falsifying a court order;
b) engaging in misconduct by obtaining a garnishing order against him;
c) evading service of court documents;
d) refusing to respond to communications;
e) unwilling to accept service of court documents’
f) falsely claiming not to receive his emails;
g) committing a fraud on the court by lying to the court about her receipt of his emails.
When asked by the chambers judge what authority he was relying on for his application, he merely shrugged his shoulders and leaned on his status as an unrepresented litigant, a response that drew the ire of the chambers judge who cited Owners Strata Plan v. She Hang Holding Inc. 2015 BCCA 424, as follows:
“Self‑represented litigants have no licence to employ accusations of dishonesty as a feature of their rhetoric unless such accusations are firmly grounded in the evidence, are relevant to the proceedings, and are responsibly made. By “responsibly”, I mean measured, careful, and faithful to the evidence. Self‑represented litigants must understand that the court is not a free fire zone where anything can be said regardless of the harm to others and their reputations.”
The Court ruled that his application lacked any evidentiary foundation, lacked bonafides, and was brought in retaliation, to harass his ex and her counsel. Of course, his application was thrown out and he was ordered to pay special costs.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang