British Columbians are invited to give their feedback on the B.C. Supreme Court Rules of Contempt.
The British Columbia Supreme Court Civil and Family Rules Committee is leading the consultation. Feedback will be used to determine how the existing Rules of Contempt align with the Province’s work with the Rules Committee to develop a more responsive justice system with improved access to justice for British Columbians.
The Province’s justice system depends on respect for and compliance with court orders. When someone wilfully violates a court order, the Rules of Contempt describe the range of remedies and corrective actions available. An order issued by the court must be obeyed unless the order is set aside or reversed.
Right now, the rules limit punishments for a person violating a court order to imprisonment or fines. However, this rule has become outdated because it does not reflect the range of options that are more frequently used under the court’s inherent jurisdiction when someone violates a court order.
The Province, in collaboration with the Rules Committee, is looking to modernize the rules to provide clear and adequate procedures outlining the court process, which will make it quicker and easier for people to get assistance from the court when other parties are not obeying court orders.
A green paper has been prepared that discusses the Rules of Contempt for when people do not obey court orders. Options where improvements to the rules may be considered are identified in this paper and are open for comment.
The consultation is open and will run until 4 p.m. Friday, March 25, 2022.
To read the green paper and provide input, please visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/about-bcs-justice-system/sc-rules-committee
- Several provinces, including Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick offer a broader range of remedies that the court may impose, such as:
- house arrest, conditional or absolute discharges, payment of security, community service, orders for further compliance and any other orders the court deems necessary.
- The court, in some of these jurisdictions, may also order that a person or party “do or refrain from doing an act” where compliance with the original order is the preferred remedy rather than punishment.
- In addition to the broad range of enforcement options, the rules of some provinces provide more procedural guidance on how to conduct a contempt proceeding.