Court Acts as Gatekeeper to Regulator Misconduct Complaints

Courts are becoming more assertive in controlling vexatious litigants. A recent decision from Alberta indicates that in some circumstances Courts will prevent vexatious complaints to a professional regulator. The history of why the initial order was made is not clear in Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta v Drover, 2021 ABQB 511 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/jgrq5. However, in addition to preventing the individual from taking steps in court proceedings, the Court also ordered the following:

To make a complaint to the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta about any member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, David Howard Drover shall submit an application to the Chief Justice or Associate Chief Justice, or his or her designate:

i. The Chief Justice or Associate Chief Justice, or his or her designate, may, at any time, direct that notice of an application make a complaint to the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta about a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta be given to any other person.

ii. Any application shall be made in writing.

iii. Any application to make a complaint to the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta about any member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta must be accompanied by an affidavit:

a. attaching a copy of the Order restricting David Howard Drover’s access to complain to the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta about any member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta;

b. attaching a copy of the complaint that David Howard Drover proposes make to the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta;

c. deposing fully and completely to the facts and circumstances surrounding the proposed complaint, so as to demonstrate that the complaint is not an abuse of process, and that there are reasonable grounds for it;

d. indicating whether David Howard Drover has ever sued some or all of the defendants or respondents previously in any jurisdiction or Court, and if so providing full particulars;

e. undertaking that, if leave is granted, the authorized complaint to the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, the Order granting leave to proceed, and the affidavit in support of the Order will promptly be served on the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta; and

f. undertaking to diligently prosecute the complaint.

Now, if only regulators had a similar power to prevent someone from making multiple frivolous complaints.

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