What has Meads v Meads wrought?

Jonnette Watson Hamilton and Alice Woolley; “What has Meads v Meads wrought?

“Associate Chief Justice John D. Rooke’s decision in Meads v Meads, 2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII) — one of CanLII’s Top Ten Cases of 2012 — established a category of vexatious litigants that he called “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument” (OPCA) litigants. OPCA litigants “employ a collection of techniques and arguments promoted and sold by ‘gurus’ … to disrupt court operations and to attempt to frustrate the legal rights of governments, corporations, and individuals” (Meads at para 1). Although those techniques and arguments are varied, the essence of the OPCA litigants’ position is that they deny the authority of the state and the courts. Both of us have commented on the Meads case previously on ABlawg: see “The Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument (OPCA) Litigant Case” and “The Top Ten Canadian Legal Ethics Stories – 2012”. What we want to look at in this post is the use that has been made of Meads in the intervening six months. We will also consider the extent to which OPCA and similar litigants may influence judges to embrace styles of judgment that are disrespectful of the parties appearing before them. The post will touch on the ethical problems created when judges embrace “literary flourishes” and “dry wit” in their decisions (Katie Daubs, “Legal Decision with literary flourish and dry wit making the round…” Toronto Star, March 29, 2013).”