Failure to Obey with a Court Order

Hi, my name is Bo Luan and I am an Associate here at Feldstein Family Law Group. Today, I will be discussing Sub-rule 8(1) of the Family Law Rules, which deals with a party’s failure to obey a Court Order.

If a person fails to obey a court order, the court may deal with the failure by making any order that it considers necessary for a just determination of the matter, including the following:

The court may make an order that the party is not entitled to any further orders from the court unless the court orders otherwise.

For example, suppose a party has been ordered to pay costs as a result of a Motion and the matter has now progressed to a Trial Management Conference. If the party has failed to pay the costs awarded and is seeking to adjourn the Trial Management Conference, the Court may refuse the adjournment because the requesting party has not followed a previous court order in the same matter.

The court can make an order striking a party’s pleadings or dismissing a claim.

Striking a party’s pleadings or dismissing a party’s claim are serious remedies; in effect, the court denies a party’s participation in the proceedings. Given the severe impact of doing so, this remedy will only be used as a last resort.

The court may also order that all or part of a document that was required to be provided, but was not, may not be used in the case.

If an Order requires a party to provide a certain document, but the party does not, the judge may decide that that party may no longer use that document in the case. After all, the party chose not to provide it despite the Court order. The document, which might have been able to support the party’s position, is now inadmissible.

The court can also make an order postponing the trial or any other step in the case.

This remedy requires the non-complying party to obey the Court Order before any further progress can be made in their case.

The court may award an order for costs.

An order of costs requires one party to reimburse the other party for a portion of their legal expenses. For example, if an additional motion had to be brought to enforce the Order, the disobeying party may be ordered to pay costs to the other party. After all, that expensive extra motion should not have been necessary in the first place.

In certain circumstances, the court may find a party to be in contempt.

This extraordinary remedy is available in circumstances where it may be the only reasonable way to send a message to one of the parties that Court Orders must be obeyed. Contempt orders can be made in a number of special circumstances, including deliberate breach of a court order, fabricating evidence, and attempting to intimidate a witness or opposing lawyer.

Actions like these are highly improper, and contempt orders can be equally serious. Judges have the authority to impose fines payable to the court, order penalty payments to another party in the case, or even (in the most severe cases) imprison the offending party!

It is very important to obey court orders.

If you or your spouse has failed to comply with a court order and you would like to discuss your matter with myself or another lawyer at our Firm, please contact us for a consultation at 905-581-7222. Thank you for watching and I’ll see you next time!