Federal Appeal

Civil Procedure

No requirement that affirmation be made on any holy book

Plaintiff applied for judicial review of Canadian Human Rights Commission’s decision not to hear his complaint. Plaintiff attempted to file evidence with unsworn affidavits. Plaintiff was Mennonite and refused to swear affidavit on Bible that was provided by court’s registry in Winnipeg because it was not “undefiled” Bible. Plaintiff was ordered to either obtain access to “undefiled” Bible and swear on it or to make solemn affirmation to affirm his affidavit. Application for judicial review was dismissed. Plaintiff brought action against Crown seeking order declaring Federal Court Registry in Winnipeg in contempt of court, order directing court to hear application and interim order providing means of affirming or swearing his affidavit evidence that did not offend his conscience. Defendant brought motion to strike out plaintiff’s statement of claim. Prothonotary ordered plaintiff’s statement of claim to be struck out on basis that it disclosed no reasonable cause of action and was abuse of process. Plaintiff appealed. Appeal was dismissed. Plaintiff appealed. Appeal dismissed. Plaintiff misunderstood effect of “affirmation” and entire case was based on misunderstanding. Pursuant to R. 80(1) of Federal Courts Rules (Can.), affidavits were to comply with Form 80A, which indicated that affidavit may be sworn or affirmed. There was no requirement that affirmation be made on any holy book. Word “affirmation” referred to method of completing affidavit that had no religious connotation and plaintiff had no basis on which to refuse to provide necessary court documentation in support of action he commenced. Motions judge applied correct principles of law and clearly understood factual background in concluding that statement of claim disclosed no reasonable cause of action. Leave to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada was denied.

Klippenstein v. R. (Sep. 30, 2014, F.C.A., Eleanor R. Dawson Acting C.J., Karen Sharlow J.A., and David G. Near J.A., File No. A-135-14) Decision at 238 A.C.W.S. (3d) 90 was affirmed.  245 A.C.W.S. (3d) 522.

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