Non-Compliance with Court Process Will Not Win Any Favours
No matter how acrimonious estate litigation becomes, it is crucial to step away from emotional issues and interpersonal relationships to examine a case objectively. Hiring a lawyer can make this much easier to accomplish. Legal issues rarely turn on petty considerations but allowing irrelevant conflict to obscure reality can result in unnecessary litigation and increased costs awards. It can reach a point where even judges hit their limit like in Goldstick Estate (Re), 2021 ABQB 745.
The Respondent, Miles Goldstick, sought unsuccessfully to acquire a larger portion of his parents’ estates through acquiring half the title to the estates’ main asset: a bank building. Due to Miles’ conduct and because of the needlessness of the litigation, solicitor and own client costs for all the parties were awarded against him personally. These were reduced on appeal but still left at a substantial $150,000.
At some point, Miles no longer had legal counsel. He subsequently started other litigation levelling personal attacks on the other parties, which were his siblings and half-siblings. The courts began to impose conditions on Miles for further applications.
Miles significantly overstepped when he levelled an accusation of bias against a Justice directly, a Justice he would have to continue to argue in front of on his many applications. The Court of Appeal of Alberta found the accusations unfounded, but the Justice was clearly not impressed at this significant allegation. Even at the proceeding referenced above, which came after Miles made his allegation, Miles was non-compliant with court process and had not appeared as required at a prior hearing. The animosity became such that the Justice recused himself from all further proceedings because he could no longer remain impartial. It is likely other courts would take note of this, and it could influence their willingness to hear Miles’ further applications and in the costs they award.