Skip to main content

GavelFrances Twitty/Getty Images/iStockphoto

An exasperated Alberta judge has issued a call to arms against legal "parasites" who hijack court proceedings with nonsensical motions and bizarre spiritual and legal principles of their own making.

Mr. Justice J.D. Rooke of Alberta Court of Queen's Bench said these people, who are usually self-represented, assert aggressive claims to be above the law, create courtroom filibusters and present convoluted legal motions that waste valuable time and cause immense frustration to court officials.

Many of them undertake frequent court challenges.

"The growing volume of this kind of vexatious litigation is a reason why these Reasons [for Judgment] suggest a strong response to curb this misconduct," Judge Rooke said in a 155-page divorce judgment.

He dubbed them Organized Pseudo-legal Commercial Argument (OPCA) litigants, and gave them further classifications such as De-Taxers, Freemen-on-the-Land, Sovereign Citizens, Strawmen and adherents of Moorish Law. Judge Rooke said he is determined "to uncover, expose, collage and publish" their tactics to send an unmistakable message to the "gurus" who inspire them.

Although some of these litigants are not affiliated with a group, Judge Rooke said, others have bought tracts or DVDs from other frequent users of the court system that explain their methods. The belief systems are typically based on a highly conspiratorial sense that they are being cheated or deceived by the "hidden hand" of the state, the judge said.

The case in question involved Dennis Larry Meads, who Judge Rooke said is an intelligent, obstinate adherent to a set of wingy beliefs and legal precepts that have no place in the courtroom. At his initial court appearance, the judge said, Mr. Meads asserted that he was not a child of the state, but "a child of the almighty God Jehovah; a living, flesh and blood sentient-man."

Mr. Meads claimed a right to address custody and support issues with his wife based on his own reading of biblical imperatives, U.S. commercial regulatory codes, and principles of "universal law."

In documents featuring multi-coloured ink, ornate language and blue thumb-prints, he demanded that his wife cease and desist from "an Enticement in Slavery," and warned that she risks being subject to "full commercial liability and your unlimited civil liability."

Far from being an isolated oddity, this sort of presentation is permeating courtrooms in almost all areas of the law across the country, Judge Rooke said. He suggested the courts take strong action to block such tactics.

Report an error

Editorial code of conduct