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Abuse of Process (AOP)

Abuse of process is an ill-defined doctrine, and the best way of appoaching it may simply be to study the situations that it has been applied to and look for similar ones. The term 'abuse' indicates that it is designed to address a bad faith problem - here what may best be described as a 'nuisance'. 'Process' means legal process and the term 'abuse of process' has made it's way into numerous statutes, including the Courts of Justice Act [eg. s.140] where it is contrasted with the similar term 'vexatious'. As far as I can tell 'abuse of process' started out as a means of expanding the court's power where it found the elements of issue estoppel lacking when issues recurred before it but between different parties than before (issue estoppel only operates between the same disputing parties). But since then it has blossomed into a range of forms, now applying to the exercise of a statutory automatic stay (under RTA law) or to the failure to immediately advise opponents when part of multi-party litigation was settled (the Handley Estate line of cases).

It is not a stretch to say that the 'doctrine' is quite open-ended and it should be considered in any situation where the process used by a party 'feels' questionable or otherwise offends the court's sense of propriety. Noteworthy is that abuse of process has been equated with breach of procedural fairness in the administrative context.


Abuse of Process - General
Abuse of Process - Definitions
Abuse of Process - Standard of Review

Abuse of Process Contrasted with Issue Estoppel and Res Judicata
Abuse of Process - Handley Estate | Part 2
Abuse of Process - Class Action
Abuse of Process - Case Management
Abuse of Process - Civil Court Delay
Abuse of Process - Family Law
Abuse of Process - Automatic Stay under the RTA
Abuse of Process - Remedies
Abuse of Process - Stay Remedy
Abuse of Process in Relation to Other Doctrine
Abuse of Process and the Rules of Civil Procedure
Abuse of Process and Criminal Procedure
Abuse of Process as a Tort
Abuse of Process in Administrative Procedures

[last edited 06 Nov 2022]


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