A Calgary man, unhappy with the decision a Court of Queen’s Bench justice made in his family law case, didn’t appeal the decision. Instead, representing himself, he sued the judge, citing malicious misuse of process and malfeasance in public office. He relied on a New Zealand decision, which allowed such an action where a judicial officer in a court of limited jurisdiction acted “knowingly and without or beyond jurisdiction and with malice giving rise to damage causatively linked to that action.”
A Master in Chambers hearing his action struck it out; a Court of Queen’s Bench Justice agreed; and the disgruntled litigant continued on to the Alberta Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal wrote
“Rawlinson [the N.Z. case] is readily distinguishable from the case at bar. Here, we are dealing with a judge of a superior court who made the order in open court within the exercise of her jurisdiction. A superior court judge enjoys absolute immunity in such circumstances, as pointed out by the unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in Morier v. Rivard.”
Jordan v. Nation 2013 ABCA 117