The Test (Civil Contempt)

From Caselaw.Ninja


Hobbs v. Hobbs, 2008 ONCA 598 (CanLII)[1]

[1] The appellant, Duncan Hobbs, appeals the following two orders of Justice Sproat of the Superior Court of Justice:

(i) an order dated November 27, 2007 finding him in contempt of court concerning his failure to make production of documents in this family law pro-ceeding;
(ii) an order dated January 25, 2008 awarding full indemnity costs in the amount of $26,572.17 in favour of the respondent, Carol Rose Hobbs and dismissing his motion to find Ms. Hobbs in contempt of court for failure to provide documentation and information concerning RBC bank account number 5125232.

[26] In Prescott-Russell Services for Children and Adults v. G. (N.) et al (2007), 2006 CanLII 81792 (ON CA), 82 O.R. (3d) 686 at para. 27 (C.A.)[2], Blair J.A. set out the test for a finding of contempt of court:

The criteria applicable to a contempt of court conclusion are settled law. A three-pronged test is required. First, the order that was breached must state clearly and unequivocally what should and should not be done. Secondly, the party who disobeys the order must do so deliberately and wilfully. Thirdly, the evidence must show contempt beyond a reasonable doubt. Any doubt must clearly be resolved in favour of the person or entity alleged to have breached the order.

[27] The motion judge concluded his analysis of the evidence before him as follows:

[30] I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Hobbs has deliberately and wilfully disobeyed the Court order of April 26, 2007 by failing in a timely manner to make the financial disclosure that was ordered.
[31] The April 26, 2007 Endorsement was critical of Mr. Hobbs for having failed to comply with the February 13, 2007 order. He was specifically alerted to his exposure to liability for contempt of court.
[32] It would then have been a simple matter to convene a meeting including officials of Charton-Hobbs to review Mr. Freedman’s letter, line by line, and arrange for the documents that were readily available to be assembled and for other documents to be obtained. Further, if there were any issues such as the proper definition of a non-recurring expense, this could have been raised with a view to agreeing upon a definition or they could have adopted a reasonable definition and so advised Ms. Hobbs.

[28] I agree with the motion judge’s analysis. The evidence before him satisfied the criteria for a finding of contempt of court as summarized by this court in Prescott-Russell Services, supra. I would therefore dismiss the appeal of the order against Mr. Hobbs for contempt of court.

[1] [2]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Hobbs v. Hobbs, 2008 ONCA 598 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/20hz4>, retrieved on 2020-09-10
  2. 2.0 2.1 Prescott-Russell Services for Children and Adults v. G. (N.), 2006 CanLII 81792 (ON CA), <http://canlii.ca/t/g1jd1>, retrieved on 2020-09-10