“Much Ado About Parking”: Contempt and the power to punish
On January 27, the British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal in Bea v. The Owners Strata Plan, LMS 2138, 2015 BCCA 31, upholding the lower court’s decision finding the Plaintiff and her husband in contempt of Court and granting the extraordinary relief that the Plaintiff’s strata unit (the “Unit”) be seized and sold by the respondent (the “Owners”). In doing so, the Court made a bold statement about the scope of its inherent jurisdiction to fashion its own remedies for findings of contempt. The decision was not however unanimous, and the dissent reveals a stark philosophical divide over the question of whether or not the Legislature can direct that the Court’s inherent power to punish for contempt be exercised in specific ways.
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