The Strawman in the Courts


Eddie Ray Kahn, a co-defendant of Wesley Snipes in his high-profile tax evasion case, “made several missteps and peculiar motions. For example, he sought to be immediately freed because the indictment lists his name in all capital letters, and he claimed U.S. attorneys have no jurisdiction because Florida supposedly was never ceded to the federal government”. Of course, the court denied these motions, and in fact, no court has ever upheld such an argument. 

In United States v. Ford it was argued that an IRS summons was invalid because the IRS capitalized all the letters in the taxpayer’s name, which was ruled to be frivolous.

United States v. Frech

“Defendant’s’ assertion that the capitalization of their names in court documents constitutes constructive fraud, thereby depriving the district court of jurisdiction and venue, is without any basis in law or fact…”

United States v. Washington

“Defendant contends that the Indictment must be dismissed because ‘KURT WASHINGTON,’ spelled out in capital letters, is a fictitious name used by the Government to tax him improperly as a business, and that the correct spelling and presentation of his name is ‘Kurt Washington.’ This contention is baseless…”

United States v Leaming (12th February 2013): 

“Defendant is apparently a member of a group loosely styled “sovereign citizens.” The Court has deduced this from a number of Defendant’s peculiar habits. First, like Mr. Leaming, sovereign citizens are fascinated by capitalization. They appear to believe that capitalizing names has some sort of legal effect.

For example, Defendant writes that “the REGISTERED FACTS appearing in the above Paragraph evidence the uncontroverted and uncontrovertible FACTS that the SLAVERY SYSTEMS operated in the names UNITED STATES, United States, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and United States of America . . . are terminated nunc pro tunc by public policy, U.C.C. 1-103 . . . .” (Def.’s Mandatory Jud. Not. at 2.) He appears to believe that by capitalizing “United States,” he is referring to a different entity than the federal government. For better or for worse, it’s the same country.

The Court therefore feels some measure of responsibility to inform Defendant that all the fancy legal-sounding things he has read on the internet are make-believe. Defendant can call himself a “public minister” and “private attorney general,” he may file “mandatory judicial notices” citing all his favorite websites, he can even address mail to the “Washington Republic.” But at the end of the day, while sovereign citizens and Defendant cite things like “Universal Law Ordinances,” they are subject to both state and federal laws, just like everyone else. For the reasons stated above, no response is required by the Government.”

Minister of National Revenue v Stanchfield [2009] FC 99 Justice Gauthier (at 17, 27, 340): 

“Mr. Camplin in the above mentioned case seems to have argued, in the same fashion as the respondent, that he had two capacities, one which he characterised as being his “private capacity as a “natural person” for my own benefit” and the other as his capacity as “legal representative of the taxpayer”. Here, the respondent characterises his purported capacities as being (1) as a natural person, and (2) as a taxpayer. The deletion of the words “legal representative” from the latter purported capacity does not render this case distinguishable from the one at bar.

The whole notion of their being a second capacity distinct from the one of a natural person or human being is a pure fiction, one which is not sanctioned by law. One can describe nothing in any terms one wishes; it still remains nothing.

Cory Stanchfield’s attempt to argue before this Court that his body comprises two persons which act in different capacities is of one of two things: (1) an inadmissible division of his indivisible entity, or (2) an attempted creation of a second entity in a fashion which is not recognized by law, the result of which amounts to nothing in the eyes of the law. It is an attempt at the impossible and the respondent cannot do the impossible. Therefore, “Cory Stanchfield (the Respondent)” and “Cory Stanchfield, in his capacity as a natural person (the Witness)” is but one person, with one single capacity.”

Crossroads-DMD Mortgage Investment Corporation v Gauthier, 2015 ABQB 703 (at 32-46): 

“Gauthier argued is that he is “an individual human being, or man with inherent jurisdiction on the land commonly known as Canada”, and “not a person as defined by Interpretations Act RSC 1985”. He is “… the Beneficiary and Grantor of the account referred to as the juristic person ADAM CHRISTIAN GAUTHIER …”. This is obviously an attempt to invoke the OPCA double/split person or “Strawman” concept: individuals have two interlinked aspects, a physical “human” element and an attached or interlinked non-corporeal legal element, what Gauthier calls a “person” or “juristic person”.

In Meads v Meads this concept is reviewed and rejected at paras 417-446. Rooke ACJ concludes that in Canadian law the double/split person concept is entirely unfounded in any sense, and has been systematically rejected every time anyone has ever raised it in a Canadian court. He then goes to evaluate the documents that the respondent, Dennis Larry Meads, had filed in the Meads v Meads action. Rooke ACJ explains at paras 432-439 that the Meads’ documents are meaningless because they attempt to invoke the double/split person concept, and concludes at paras 438-439: [438] … everything good and of value attaches to the physical person of Mr. Meads, while all obligation and debt is allocated to the unfortunate DENNIS LARRY MEADS, corporate entity. [439] Of course, that does not work. Mr. Meads is Mr. Meads in all his physical or imaginary aspects. He would experience and obtain the same effect and success if he appeared in court and selectively donned and removed a rubber Halloween mask which portrays the appearance of another person, asserting at this or that point that the mask’s person is the one liable to Ms. Meads. Not that I am encouraging, or indeed would countenance, the wearing of a mask in my courtroom.

This means that ACJ Rooke’s conclusion that the double/split person “Strawman” is a myth is not obiter. He used that conclusion of law to reach the result in Meads v Meads. As a consequence, that conclusion is binding on me. To be explicit, even if that were not the law I would come to exactly the same conclusion. Gauthier’s claim that distinguishes an “individual human being” from the “person” is entirely meaningless. They are one and the same. Gauthier’s apparent belief as to the legal meaning of the word “person” is entirely false and incorrect.

I note that the “Strawman” double/split person concept was also rejected by the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal in a recent judgment, Fiander v Mills, 2015 NLCA 31 (CanLII) at para 20: This notion of treating a named individual as an “estate” that is somehow separate from the person who is subject to the law and that is free from governmental regulation is also a concept unrecognized by the law of Canada. It is just nonsense. Chief Justice Green concludes the “Strawman” is so obviously and notoriously false that he directs that anytime a trial court encounters “… the fractionating of human personality to support claims of not being subject to law …” that the litigant who made that argument should be presumed to have sued in a vexatious and abusive manner and only is appearing in court for an improper and ulterior purpose: paras 39-40.

The “Strawman” is therefore not merely a myth. It is litigation poison.”

Rothweiler v Payette, 2018 ABQB 288

[1] ……. Reduced to its conceptual core, the ‘Strawman’ concept is one that alleges that the government exercises clandestine control over human beings via a non-corporeal legal entity, the ‘Strawman’. The ‘Strawman’ is purportedly attached to a human being when parents are tricked into signing birth documentation. That documentation is (supposedly) a concealed contract with the government.             

[2] Rothweiler called his ‘Strawman’ the “BRENDEN-RANDALL: ROTHWEILER ESTATE”, while he is a “living man” and “the Creditor of the estate”: Rothweiler #2, at paras 10-13. Rothweiler in his Statement of Claim complains he was injured when state actors engaged him, instead of his ‘Strawman’. He demands $22 million in damages: Rothweiler #2, at para 2.               

[3] In Fiander v Mills, 2015 NLCA 31 (CanLII) at paras 20-21, 40, 368 Nfld & PEIR 80, the Newfoundland Court of Appeal concluded that anyone who uses the ‘Strawman’ motif in court is presumed to act in bad faith, and for a vexatious and abusive ulterior purpose. This decision provides that a court that encounters the ‘Strawman’ may act pre-emptively to terminate or restrict litigation abuse based on this notoriously false idea.

This rule from Fiander v Mills has been subsequently adopted in many Alberta cases, including Re Boisjoli2015 ABQB 629 (CanLII)29 Alta LR (6th) 334Gauthier v Starr, 2016 ABQB 213 (CanLII)86 CPC (7th) 348Alberta v Greter2016 ABQB 293 (CanLII)Pomerleau v Canada (Revenue Agency)2017 ABQB 123 (CanLII)98 CPC (7th) 249; and Re Gauthier2017 ABQB 555 (CanLII), aff’d 2018 ABCA 14 (CanLII).

Fiander v Mills, 2015 NLCA 31:

(at 20-21) “The appellant also asserted in his statement of claim that he is the “grantor and sole beneficiary” of  the “Estate” of the human being known as “Edward John Fiander” and that the government continues wrongfully to “administer” his estate in breach of trust by forcing him to pay licence fees and seizing his fish, amongst other things. This notion of treating a named individual as an “estate” that is somehow separate from the person who is subject to the law and that is free from governmental regulation is also a concept unrecognized by the law of Canada. It is just nonsense and has no basis for inclusion in a statement of claim. The appellant’s assertion in the statement of claim that the issuance of a birth certificate, which merely records an historical fact and does not create identity, somehow nevertheless results in “the process of the creation of an Estate with the parents or guardians granting to the government, as Trustee, their offspring’s (child) share of the earth over which it was given dominion by its creator, the earth and all things of it (Genesis 1:26-28)” is, quite apart from the incomprehensible nature of the assertion, unconnected to any basis for asserting a claim for damages against the respondents.”

(at 40) “In this case, this Court has now declared that arguments relating to opting out of legislation, the fractionating of human personality to support claims of not being subject to law and the fanciful use of arguments based on birth certificates to create notions of estates to advance submissions that would otherwise have no rational support in the jurisprudence, have no basis in the law in this jurisdiction. It would therefore be open to a trial court in the future, when made aware of such submissions in other proceedings, to treat those submissions as presumptively vexatious and abusive and to act preemptively to prevent such claims from improperly clogging up the legal system to the cost and prejudice of those who would otherwise have to face and deal with them.  The court would not have to wait for a formal application to strike from an affected party but could also act on its own motion to deal with the issue, applying such procedural safeguards (such as a show-cause hearing initiated by the senior court official in the relevant judicial centre) as may be appropriate in the circumstances. It must be remembered that even rule 14.24(1), by its language, does not require a formal application by a party to initiate a consideration as to whether a pleading is an abuse of the process of the Court.”

Royal Bank of Canada v Anderson [2022] ABQB 354 Rooke ACJ (at 3-5):

“In her numerous appearances before the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Ms. Anderson calls herself many things, for example:

* Sandra-Ann: Anderson
* i: woman: Sandra of the Anderson family
* Sandra of the Anderson family,
* Sandra Ann Anderson, Executor of the SANDRA ANN ANDERSON ESTATE

These variations of Ms. Anderson’s name are meaningless in law, but, purportedly, serve to designate that, in this instance Ms. Anderson is self-identifying as a “flesh and blood” human being. Other times, Ms. Anderson refers to SANDRA ANN ANDERSON. This is the “Strawman”, an illusionary shadow-self of Ms. Anderson that is purportedly an immaterial legal thing, that was (allegedly) created by Ms. Anderson’s birth documentation, then chained to her as part of a nefarious government scheme. Persons who sell and teach pseudolaw claim that Strawman Theory allows one to operate in two aspects, and take all the benefits as Sandra-Ann: Anderson, while assigning any obligations and penalties to SANDRA ANN ANDERSON, which Ms. Anderson has called an “Estate”, a “Trust”, or a “Corporation”. Academic commentary has also characterized Strawman Theory as a legal possession and exorcism ritual, that pretends to be law: Donald J Netolitzky, “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Arguments as Magic and Ceremony” (2018) 55:4 Alta L Rev 1045 at 1069-1078. Ms. Anderson uses her Strawwoman SANDRA ANN ANDERSON as a kind of sock puppet, when that is convenient for her. [5] Like many other pseudolaw concepts engaged by Ms. Anderson, Strawman Theory is nonsense, and rejected universally by courts, worldwide. In Canada, Strawman Theory has been rejected on so many occasions, and is so notoriously false, that simply employing Strawman Theory motifs creates a presumption that the pseudolaw litigant does so for abusive, ulterior motives: Fiander v Mills, 2015 NLCA 31 at paras 37-40; Rothweiler v Payette, 2018 ABQB 288 at paras 6-21; Unrau #2 at para 180. Ms. Anderson is perfectly well aware of this, because she has been repeatedly instructed that Strawman Theory is false, and that her using Strawman Theory is an abuse of the Court and opposing parties. Ms. Anderson was ordered in Canada v Anderson #1 that she only communicate with the Court via her legal name, “Sandra Ann Anderson”, and not alternative name structures and/or pseudonyms. That was to stop her from using Strawman Theory, which promises her no benefits at all, and that just wastes court and litigant time. As will be very apparent, Ms. Anderson has paid no attention to that Order.”

Read more Canadian strawman cases in The Canadian Natural Person

Australian strawman cases

Borleis v Wacol Correctional Centre [2011] QSC 232

“Mr Borleis, who was brought to Court from the prison today, was allowed to make some submissions himself. He submitted that the Magistrate had no authority to deal with him. He seemed to distinguish between himself as a man in two different capacities and suggested that the law did not bind him in one of those two capacities. This rather esoteric and spiritual argument does not find any reflection in any provision of our law.”

Bradley v Barber [2016] QCA 053:

“The respondent also submitted that, as to the question that the appellant sought to agitate that Crown Law and/or lawyers instructed by Crown Law could not represent the respondent in the appeal because of a “living man versus living woman” argument, the respondent correctly pointed out that the learned primary judge ruled against the point and the submission made in this Court should be rejected for the same reasons. I agree. There was no substance whatever in the appellant’s argument on this point.”

Rangitaawa [2013] NZHC 4:

“Please find enclosed a previous copy of application filed in the District Court Dargaville also a Statutory Declaration declaring my Native Title as Natural Man of Aotearoa also in reference, details of the legal name to the artificial person GRAHAM COLIN RANGITAAWA CAPITALISE. I/we inform you that rangatira graham rangitaawa is not the person required to appear upon the subject matters schedule under adjournment to the Whangarei High Court date 4 February 2013.”

“It appears the document may have been filed at Dargaville on 15 November 2012, together with other documents which are largely incomprehensible but which confirm that, despite assertions to the contrary in the letter received by the High Court today, the person signing himself as “rangatira. graham rangitaawa” is Graham Colin Rangitaawa. Appeal refused.” 

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v Rana [2008] FCA 374:

“On 19 November 2007, the Court commenced the hearing of the charges by seeking to establish whether the respondents including Paul Rana appeared. When asked whether he was Paul Rana, the following exchange occurred:

MR RANA: Paul John, sir. Just for on the record…
HIS HONOUR: No, no, Mr Rana. Are you Paul John Rana?
HIS HONOUR: All right. Well, if you take a seat, I will issue a bench warrant to have Paul John Rana arrested and brought to the court. Just take a seat…
MR RANA: That is fine. For and on the record, I would like to appoint the other side as fiduciary, and here are their instructions.
HIS HONOUR: Take a seat, Mr Rana.
MR RANA: You may address me as Paul John. I am here as a third party intervener, here only by special appearance under injury with a real interest in the matter and reserve all rights, powers and privileges. I am here with limited jurisdiction. I am here to assist the court to settle and close all real issues and find out the nature and cause of this action and there by – if there be any today and to stop and correct any leave all parties commercially whole. I thank you, your Honour.
HIS HONOUR: Mr Rana, are you or are you not Paul John Rana? MR RANA: I have just explained that, sir.
HIS HONOUR: Your explanation was, frankly, nonsense. The question I asked you is whether or not you are Paul John Rana. If you are not, I will have the police arrest Paul John Rana and bring him to the court as soon as possible.
MR RANA: That is fine, sir. I am not the defendant. I am commonly known as Paul John of the family Rana.
And later the following further exchange occurred:
HIS HONOUR: There is really one issue and that is whether you are the person named in the summons.
MR RANA: Yes, well, I conditionally accept your offer to address me as Mr Rana on proof of claim that the answer to that name does not give me a disability.
HIS HONOUR: There is one question: are you or are you not Paul John Rana? If not, I will have the police …
MR RANA: I am not the defendant, your Honour.
HIS HONOUR: Yes. Well, I will have the police find the defendant and bring that person before me.
MR RANA: Fantastic.

In view of the failure of Paul Rana to identify himself and the failure of Micheal Rana to appear, the Court issued warrants for the arrest of these two defendants and adjourned the hearing of the charges.”

Van den Hoorn v Ellis, [2010] QDC 451:

“Additionally, there was the puzzling contention that, before the lower court, the appellant was assumed to be a “corperation [sic]” by the fact of the court accepting the alleged “capitalisation of (his) family name” which so led to him being deemed to be a “corporative fiction of limited liability” when he was “a living/breathing soul … of full liability”. 

Since “driver” in the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 is defined as meaning the “person” driving the vehicle (including the “rider” of a vehicle), the appellant is not a person who falls within the Act because, from the same definitions just referred to, a person “includes” a “corporation” and the appellant is not a “corporation”.

Besides misunderstanding about what “includes” means, it is clear from the context of the definition – and reality – that a corporation could never drive or ride a vehicle. Such an interpretation is therefore absurd, and must be rejected. A similar fate follows from any argument that a “person” is only a fictitious legal entity.”

Re Magistrate M M Flynn; Ex Parte McJannete [2013] WASC 372:

“The application to this court is vexatious and an abuse of process and must be dismissed. The applicant appears to be one of a group of individuals without legal training who continue to espouse theories of constitutional law that have no basis. Courts in this State and throughout Australia, indeed the common law world, have steadfastly so ruled.

“As a result of his continuing pre-occupation with discredited legal theory the applicant has sworn in his affidavit such nonsense as:

“I am a Man, a flesh and blood living soul created under God also known as a ‘Human Being’. I am not a corporate entity and I do not consent to my body being transferred to a corporate entity for the purposes of commerce including commercial transactions in any court.”

The applicant has attached his birth certificate to his affidavit which clearly shows his identity. If he wishes to play games about his identity while engaged in the serious business of court hearings involving criminal charges, he should expect magistrates to respond as did this magistrate. There is no room in a crowded Magistrates Court for time wasting by idiosyncratic litigants who believe in legal theories that are without merit.

Finally, judges administer justice according to law. They are not required to expend judicial time, a scarce public resource, on applications that have no legal foundation and involve a deluded understanding of the law.”

Queensland Police Service v Messer [2016] QDC 214:

“I am not a “person” when such term is defined in Statutes or Acts of Australia, or Statutes or Acts of the several states when such definition includes artificial entities or Cestui Que Vie Trusts. I refuse to be treated as a federally or state created entity which is only capable of exercising certain rights, privileges, or immunities as specifically granted by federal or state governments, unless with my express consent on a case by case basis.

HIS HONOUR: “As interesting and attractive as these arguments might seem to someone who propounds them, they have no basis in law or fact to exculpate a person’s culpability for a traffic offence and being subject to the court’s jurisdiction.

(See R v Stoneman [2013] QCA 209 (affirming Stoneman v The Commissioner of Police (unreported, 2012 District Court of Qld, 30 November 2012, Kingham DCJ)

The respondent’s submissions have no bearing on any issue in this appeal.”

Smadu -v- Stone [2016] WASC 80:

“The appeal is grounded primarily on the notion that the appellant has separate legal personalities. It appears the appellant asserts that one such personality owned the motor vehicle and another held the appellant’s driver’s licence and drove the vehicle. The appellant says that the wrong legal person was charged and raises various arguments which appear to be based on the separate legal personality fiction. This is all nonsense. It would be a waste of judicial resources and an affront to the dignity of this court to answer the pseudo-legal arguments raised by the appeal in anything but a summary way.

Ground 12 asserts that the appellant’s belief is that the incorrect legal identity was charged potentially in the incorrect jurisdiction. This is more pseudo-legal gibberish based upon the fiction of separate legal identities.

None of the grounds of appeal has a reasonable prospect of succeeding. If any of them otherwise had any merit, no substantial miscarriage of justice has occurred. The appellant does not allege that the prosecution failed to prove any element of the offence except for the assertion that the charge was brought against the wrong legal person or against the appellant in the wrong capacity. As I have said, that is nonsense.”

Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Casley [2017] WASC 161:

“Each of the defendants advances the pseudo legal straw man argument. The straw man argument has no legal merit or substance. In an affidavit filed by Leonard Casley he swore:

“I am the Real Man, Leonard George Casley born at Kalgoorlie Western Australia on 27 August 1925. Upon the registration of my birth certificate, it is claimed that I became a ward of the state. Owing allegiance to the Monarch, under contract and the Monarch undertakes the protection of myself and my property. I am Leonard George Casley, a real man not a straw man. The Straw Man is a fictitious body, which does not exist, but is that which is controlled by the State, and the State’s judiciary.”

An affidavit filed by Arthur Casley contains similar statements. This appears to be a variant of the strange pseudo‑legal straw man theory. The theory holds that an individual has two personas, one of himself as a real flesh and blood human being and the other, a separate legal personality who is the straw man. The idea is that an individual’s debts, liabilities, taxes and legal responsibilities belong to the straw man rather than the physical individual who incurred those obligations, conveniently allowing one to escape their debts and responsibilities. It is all gobbledygook.”

Conroy v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation [2005] QSC:

“There is a claim which I have had difficulty understanding, that because the respondent has issued a notice in the name Bevan Conroy in capital letters and whereas he has now (although there is no evidence in support of this) adopted the name Bevan-John: Conroy the proceedings are in some way invalid, it being said that his name has been capitalised and the notice refers to a body corporate or person. I reject this argument as it seems to me entirely without any basis.”

Adelaide City Council v Lepse [2016] SASC 66:

“The applicant appears to be one of a group of individuals without legal training who continue to espouse theories of constitutional law that have no basis. Courts in this State and throughout Australia, indeed the common law world, have steadfastly so ruled. As a result of his continuing pre-occupation with discredited legal theory the applicant has sworn in his affidavit such nonsense as:

1. “I am a Man, a flesh and blood living soul created under God also known as a ‘Human Being’. I am not a corporate entity and I do not consent to my body being transferred to a corporate entity for the purposes of commerce including commercial transactions in any court.”

2. “My name is Man or Robert Paul as per the ‘Birth Certificate’ extracted from my live birth record on 6 June 1961 annexed to this affidavit and marked RP 01 and of which Birth Certificate signifies the Cestui Que trust created by the State of Queensland without my consent.”

After reproducing more of the same, his Honour concluded:

“It is not necessary to comment on these assertions. Mere quotation of these paragraphs is sufficient to explain why this action is vexatious and is dismissed.”

Corika v Throssell [2017] WASCA 209:

(at 6) “The Appellant which is a Real Living Human Beings and not a Legal Fictitious ‘Persons’ ‘treated at law as artificial’ and – or fictitious persons, was brought before a ‘CORAM’ in the Magistrate Court of Western Australia by the Prosecutor the Shire of Mundaring, by a ‘Person’ a (Fictitious Person) issuing the Prosecution notice, that Person ‘JONATHAN THROSSELL’ the fictitious person, the Person in capital letters who’s Official Title Chief Executive Officer and ’employee’ of the Shire of Mundaring and witnessed by a Justice of the Peace, a Person and – or a private individual has no Lawful Jurisdiction under the Crown to sign a Prosecution Notice when the Person and – or the private individual is and ‘Employee’ of a Trading Corporation under the Fair Work Act 2009 and under Section 51 (xx) of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1901.

K Sheridan v Colin Biggers & Paisley [2019] NSWSC 528:

“The reference to “i, a man” in the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim and other documents which he seeks to file, to which I refer below, appears to have something in common origin with the references to a “flesh and blood man”, noted to have many variations, in Meads v Meads [2012] ABQB 571, where the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Canada, undertook a comprehensive review of the characteristic features of what it described as “organized pseudolegal commercial argument”. That decision has in turn been noted by the High Court of New Zealand in Meenken v Family Court at Masterton [2017] NZHC 2103 and in decisions of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, including Ennis v Credit Union Australia [2016] FCCA 1705, Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Woods [2018] FCCA 1815 and Lion Finance Pty Ltd v Johnston [2018] FCCA 2745, with reference to a class of arguments deployed by self-represented creditors in a different context, in order to seek to avoid payment of debts: see also T Bloy, “Pseudolaw and Debt Enforcement” [2013] NZLJ 47.”

Deputy Commissioner Of Taxation v Cutts (No.4) [2019] FCCA 2866:

(From 126) “Throughout the proceedings Mr Cutts appeared to adopt a form of legal argument referred to as ‘strawman theory’ or ‘Organised Pseudo-legal Commercial Argument.’ A comprehensive and exhaustive description of this concept can be found in Meads v Meads (2012) ABQB 571 (“Meads”), a 188 page judgment of Rooke ACJ, whereby the many types of arguments of pseudo-legal litigants was traversed. In Casley at [15] per Le Miere J the strawman theory was succinctly described as follows:

“The theory holds that an individual has two personas, one of himself as a real flesh and blood human being and the other, a separate legal personality who is the straw man. The idea is that an individual’s debts, liabilities, taxes and legal responsibilities belong to the straw man rather than the physical individual who incurred those obligations, conveniently allowing one to escape their debts and responsibilities.”

The Court observes each of Mr Cutts’ affidavits filed in these proceedings, and his conduct at the hearings of this matter, carries notable characteristics of the “strawman theory” arguments.”

Rossiter v Adelaide City Council [2020] SASC 61:

“Various terms have been used to describe “pseudolegal arguments”.such as those advocated by the appellant in this case. (Adelaide City Council v Lepse [2016] SASC 66, [57] (Peek J). They have without reservation been rejected as involving both legal nonsense and an unnecessary waste of scarce public and judicial resources.

These include the “blood and bone” defence: in Meads v Meads, 2012 ABQB 571, [243] (Rooke ACJ) referred to a defendant insisting that “the court state whether it is addressing the litigant in one of two roles, such as whether this is to a “legal person” or a “corporation”, vs. a “flesh and blood person”, or a “natural person””. So too here. (Kosteska v Magistrate Manthey [2013] QCA 105, [17] (Martin J); Re Magistrate M M Flynn; Ex parte McJannett [2013] WASC 372.)

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited v Grahame [2020] VSC 86 (From 71):

“At the outset, Ms Grahame seeks to draw a legal distinction between herself (whom she refers to as the living person, ‘Heather Jean Grahame’) on the one hand, and the named defendant in the proceeding (whom she refers to as the corporate entity ‘HEATHER JEAN GRAHAME’ (in capital letters)) on the other.

Ms Grahame refers to the two entities and elaborates on their respective status. She explains that the first entity, ‘HEATHER JEAN GRAHAME’ (all in capital letters), ‘is a corporate entity that was created by the federal government at around the time of [her] birth.’ The second entity is the living person, ‘Heather Jean Grahame’, whom she contends is the secured creditor and controller of the corporate entity ‘HEATHER JEAN GRAHAME’.

Ms Grahame was unable to refer the Court to any decided cases, or propositions of law, that support her contention that there is in existence a corporate entity ‘HEATHER JEAN GRAHAME’, that is separate and distinct from her – the living person Heather Jean Grahame – that is the defendant as listed on the Bank’s statement of claim, Loan Agreement, Mortgage and default notice. The position is that Ms Grahame is actively defending the present case. She acknowledges that she is the ‘Customer’ of the plaintiff and that she did sign the Loan Agreement and agreed to provide security, and that she received the default notice from the plaintiff.

In the circumstances, I am not satisfied that Ms Grahame has demonstrated any basis upon which the Court could reasonably find that the person listed on the Bank’s statement of claim, Loan Agreement, Mortgage and default notice is other than the named defendant, Heather Jean Grahame, whether spelt in capital letters or a mixture of capital and lower case letters. In my view, her contention that there is relevantly in existence a corporate entity that is separate and distinct from her is untenable.”

R v Sweet [2021] QDC 216:

“The essence of the applicant’s argument is that he possesses two distinct personas. One the ‘real live flesh and blood man’ and the other a ‘straw man’ or ‘dummy corporation’. The former is designated in the applicant’s material as ‘Kym-Anthony:’ and the latter as KYM ANTHONY SWEET. According to the applicant’s argument, the real person is not subject to the laws of Queensland, and the charges should be dismissed. Merely setting out the argument is sufficient to show it is nonsense. It is apparent that the applicant is one of a group of people who for some years have attempted, universally without success, to avoid the operation of laws with which they do not wish to comply.

The term ‘organised pseudo legal commercial argument’ litigants (OPCA) was coined by Rooke ACJ in Meads v Meads to describe adherents to these discredited theories. The ideas promoted by OPCA litigants emerged, of course, in the United States. They have since spread to most parts of the common law world, including Queensland. The ‘straw man’ argument has its origins in the premise that human beings do not inherently possess a legal personality. Instead, some separate legal identity is imposed upon them (through birth certificates and the like) by the government. This process creates a kind of contract, but one that can be repudiated by the human being, usually through a declaration or affidavit (in this case the applicant’s ‘Affidavit of the Truth’) and ‘surrendering’ the birth certificate. The purported effect of such repudiation is to render the human being immune to the laws of the relevant polity. The processes adopted by OPCA litigants to achieve this repudiation can be arcane. Some of the language used, and documents relied upon, resemble spells or incantations.

In Australia, a human being is also a legal person. An adult human being with full capacity can sue and be sued. They are subject to the criminal laws of this state. These fundamental propositions cannot be doubted. It is true that a natural person can create a legal entity that has a distinct legal personality – such entities are commonly called companies – but this is an adjunct to, rather than a replacement for, the legal personality of the human being. One way of illustrating why this must be so is to consider the consequences of the ability to ‘renounce’ legal personhood. The law has at times recognised categories of person who did not possess a legal personality. These categories included, before 1833, slaves, who were regarded as chattel property, could be bought and sold, and who had no rights under the law. At times women and children were thought not to possess a legal personality. Blackstone regarded children as the property of their fathers, and women have been regarded as chattels without a distinct legal personality. The fates of people who were in these categories were rarely pleasant. If the applicant were somehow able to renounce his legal personality, he would become a human being without rights. He would be mere property. Such an outcome would be antithetical to our society and system of laws.

Criminal liability attaches to a person where they ‘do the act or one or more acts in a series which constitutes or constitute the offence’. On any view of the present allegations, that could not be the ‘straw man’ or ‘dummy corporation’ mentioned by the applicant. The applicant’s own writings describe this purported alternate persona as ‘an artificial person’, a ‘legal entity’, ‘an artificial legal person’ and a ‘legal fiction’. Even if it existed in law, it is not capable of doing the act or acts that attract criminal liability. Of the two entities claimed by the applicant to exist – the applicant as ‘a real live flesh and blood man’ and the ‘straw man’ – the only one who could have done the acts that constitute the offences is the applicant, constituted in the corporeal form of the person who appeared in court to make this application. That is the person who was charged by the police, committed to stand trial by a Magistrate and against whom the present indictment was presented. That person is subject to the criminal law of this State and may be found to be criminally liable for his own acts. Even if the applicant possesses a ‘legal split-personality’, a proposition I reject, it could not alter this reality.

There is no room for doubt or confusion as to who is said to have done the criminal acts and who is to stand trial in relation to the allegations. That is the applicant. His apparent wish to be identified by a name that is different to the name he was assigned at birth is of no moment at all. However he is known, and no matter how odd the punctuation, he remains the same person – the one alleged to have committed the offences charged in the indictment. While the so called ‘straw man’ argument may properly be described as nonsense or gobbledygook, it is in any event of no assistance to the applicant in present circumstances. It is to my mind clear that under the criminal law of Queensland the applicant’s claim to possess or be associated with some separate legal entity is entirely irrelevant.”

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