15 Sep 2014

The Court of Appeal Refuses Permission for Leave to Appeal a Provisional Injunction


By Ashley Kandestin
ZSA Recrutement Juridique

In Éditions Genex inc. c. RNC Média inc. 2014 QCCA 1628 ,
the Honourable Marie-France Bich refused permission for leave to appeal of an
expired provisional injunction that ordered the petitioners to cease using a
brand name. The injunction’s renewal was refused by the Superior Court before
the presentation of the motion for leave, there being no injunction in place
when Justice Bich heard the motion. However, a motion for contempt of court was
filed with the Superior Court, outlining the petitioner’s alleged violations of
the injunction. The petitioners argued that their motion for leave to appeal of
the expired injunction was a means of contesting the contempt proceedings.

Justice Bich
first reminds us that only in exceptional circumstances, and subject to
articles 29 and 511 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP), is permission for
leave to appeal of a provisional injunction granted.  Because such orders are discretionary and
valid for only 10 days (article 753 CCP), and because first instance judges
petitioned for renewal or for modification of such injunctions are not bound by
an initial order, the criteria for obtaining permission for leave to appeal are
rarely met. No exceptional circumstances were present in the facts of this
case. Moreover, Justice Bich emphasizes that setting aside the provisional
injunction through an appeal is not the proper way to contest the contempt
proceedings, explaining that if a finding of contempt were to be made by the
Superior Court, it would prevail regardless if the injunction were to be set
aside by the Court of Appeal:

« [12]        L’argument doit être rejeté. Si les
requérants ont pour objectif d’échapper à l’outrage, ils ont, en l’espèce,
d’autres moyens pour le faire de manière efficace […]

[13]        Pour le reste, je me contenterai de
rappeler que, si outrage il y a eu (ce sur quoi je ne me prononce aucunement),
il faut considérer que celui-ci demeurerait et pourrait être sanctionné même
dans l’hypothèse où l’ordonnance serait cassée par la Cour […] »

 Referring to a Supreme Court of Canada
decision, this judgment makes clear that the ultimate invalidity of an order is
no defence to a contempt citation. In order to properly attack the contempt
proceedings, the petitioners must do so directly, by arguing, for example, the
vagueness or ambiguity of the order, or their compliance with it.

The full
decision can be read here.

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