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Human rights claims against courts, judges, lawyers and Ministry tossed by Ontario tribunal

by HR Law Canada

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has dismissed an application from a woman who brought sex and disability discrimination claims against various courts, judges, lawyers and the province’s Ministry of the Attorney General.

The tribunal found the application to be an abuse of process and outside its jurisdiction.

M.P., who was self-represented, alleged that judicial decisions in her civil proceedings were influenced by discrimination and reprisal, impacting her ability to receive a fair hearing. The civil proceedings in question involved a series of disputes over an estate.

In her application, M.P. claimed that the decisions of multiple judges prevented her from getting a fair hearing. She also included allegations against lawyers who, she asserted, acted improperly in these proceedings.

The tribunal’s decision highlighted several key points of jurisdictional limitation. “The Tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear applications against courts and tribunals based on the execution of adjudicative duties or decision-making because of the doctrine of judicial or adjudicative immunity.”

M.P.’s application faced multiple procedural hurdles. The tribunal had issued several endorsements directing M.P. to limit her written submissions to eight pages, focusing specifically on the jurisdictional concerns. Despite these clear instructions, she submitted a voluminous affidavit and numerous exhibits, which the tribunal noted as non-compliant.

The tribunal had previously warned M.P. that failure to comply with its procedural directions could result in dismissal of her application. Despite these warnings, she continued to submit materials that exceeded the prescribed limits and did not address the tribunal’s jurisdictional concerns directly.

In its ruling, the tribunal emphasized the importance of adhering to procedural rules to prevent abuse of its processes.

“Tribunals, like courts, must control their own processes, including restraining vexatious conduct and abuse of process,” it stated, citing previous case law that underscored the responsibility of tribunals to manage their resources effectively.

Ultimately, the tribunal found that M.P.’s repeated non-compliance with procedural directions and the nature of her claims constituted an abuse of process. Additionally, the application was deemed to be outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction, as it involved allegations against courts and judges, which are protected by judicial immunity.

Lessons from this decision

  1. Understand Tribunal Jurisdiction: This case highlights the importance of recognizing the jurisdictional boundaries of human rights tribunals. Employers and HR professionals should be aware that tribunals cannot adjudicate matters involving judicial decisions.
  2. Adhere to Procedural Rules: Compliance with procedural directions is crucial in any legal process. Ignoring these rules can lead to dismissal of applications, even if the substantive claims have merit.
  3. Recognize Judicial Immunity: Claims against judges or judicial decisions fall outside the purview of human rights tribunals due to judicial immunity. Legal strategies should consider alternative avenues for addressing such grievances.

For more information, see Persaud v. Ontario (Attorney General), 2024 HRTO 755.

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