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Abuse of Process - Class Action

. Azar v. Strada Crush Limited

In Azar v. Strada Crush Limited (Div Court, 2022) the Divisional Court considered abuse of process in a class action certification context:
[41] There is no issue that the motion judge began by citing and relying on an appropriate case regarding the doctrine of abuse of process, specifically Toronto (City) v. C.U.P.E., Local 79, 2003 SCC 63, [2003] 3 S.C.R. 77 (“CUPE”).

[42] As found in CUPE, the doctrine of abuse of process engages “the inherent power of the court to prevent the misuse of its procedure, in a way that would . . . bring the administration of justice into disrepute”: CUPE, at para. 37, quoting Canam Enterprises Inc. v. Coles (2000), 2000 CanLII 8514 (ON CA), 51 O.R. (3d) 481 (C.A.), at para. 55, per Goudge J.A., dissenting (approved [2002] 3 S.C.R. 307, 2002 SCC 63)).

[43] As noted by the motion judge, the doctrine of abuse of process has been applied where the litigation before the court is found to be in essence an attempt to relitigate a claim which the court has already determined. As set out in CUPE, at para. 37, Canadian courts have applied the doctrine of abuse of process to preclude relitigation in circumstances where allowing the litigation to proceed would violate principles such as judicial economy, consistency, finality and the integrity of the administration of justice.

[44] In addition to CUPE, the motion judge relied on Bear to illustrate the use of abuse of process in the class action context. In Bear, at para. 74, the court observed that it was sometimes necessary and appropriate to look below the surface of class action proceedings in order to preserve the integrity of the administration of justice. The court in Bear noted some “unique features” of that case, concluding that a defendant should not face a “revolving door of representative plaintiffs who serially advance certification application after certification application until they (perhaps) find one that succeeds.” At para. 75, the court held that its concerns were substantially heightened “when the same firm acts in successive certification efforts.”


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