Vancouver lawyer who sued neighbour over deck divider accused of pseudolegal ‘paper terrorism’

A Vancouver woman is asking for the courts to make an case in point of her neighbour, a practising lawyer she alleges has submitted a baseless pseudolegal lawsuit towards her in an attempt to “provoke a condition of anxiety.”

Colleen McLelland stood prior to a B.C. Supreme Court docket master on Wednesday asking for a recognize of assert submitted by authentic estate attorney Naomi Arbabi to be struck as “scandalous, frivolous or vexatious.” McLelland also identified as on the court docket to refer a complaint against Arbabi to the Law Culture of B.C.

“I truly feel that the court needs to make an example of this case where a self-represented litigant created arguments in regulation and adopted the suitable court course of action, but a law firm highly developed a pseudolegal declare and abused the court’s course of action,” McLelland instructed the learn.

“I estimate that my lawful service fees in this make any difference, dependent on the billing of attorneys I’ve retained in the previous, would be around $15,000 to day had I not self-represented. This pseudolegal claim has taken months of my time, resulting in unnecessary charges, and more importantly induced severe worry to me, my household and friends.”

  • This week on Cross Nation Checkup, our Talk to Me Nearly anything segment focuses on dealing with disputes with a neighbour. We’ll have a serious estate law firm on hand to help, so fill out the specifics on this sort to get your query in early.

Arbabi’s discover of declare, submitted on Oct. 5, accuses McLelland of “trespass” for installing a privateness divider on her rooftop deck in their Fairview condominium developing. Arbabi identifies herself as “i, a girl” in the assert and says the situation would be experimented with in the “naomi arbabi court docket.”

She writes that “this is a assert primarily based on regulation of the land, and not a grievance based mostly on authorized codes acts or statutes” and asks for compensation equal to $1,000 a working day for just about every day the glass divider has been in position — totalling close to $70,000 by now. 

McLelland argued the lawsuit is a clear instance of what Canadian courts have termed an arranged pseudolegal commercial argument (OPCA) — a thoroughly debunked and wholly unsuccessful class of legal concept favoured by fringe teams like Sovereign Citizens and Freemen on the Land.

“In dealing with Ms. Arbabi’s notice and assert, I genuinely experience a victim of paper terrorism and consider the general public needs to be shielded from these kinds of litigation ways,” McLelland said.

On Wednesday, Learn Susanna Hughes reserved her decision on McLelland’s application to strike the detect of claim, stating she would release created reasons at a later on day.

Attorney says courts misunderstand ‘natural law’

In her submissions on Wednesday, Arbabi denied any association with organized pseudolegal teams, but explained to the court docket “I do consider that our authorized process has a large amount of flaws.” She argued that she was appearing in courtroom as “a residing, respiratory, alive woman,” not a lawyer, and said she would refer to herself working with a lowercase “i.”

“That i possess a licence to exercise legislation in the authorized jurisdiction of the province of British Columbia does not make i into a lawyer, the same way that having a driver’s licence to travel a motor auto does not make i into a driver,” Arbabi stated.

A spokesperson for the Regulation Culture of B.C. reported in an electronic mail she could not remark on this certain circumstance, “but in normal, pseudolaw arguments do not inspire regard for the administration of justice and could turn into the foundation for an investigation and willpower.”

The code of conduct for legal professionals in B.C. involves them to stimulate respect for the justice process, and states they should really not weaken community self esteem in lawful establishments though irresponsible promises.

In her submissions, McLelland referred to the 2012 Meads vs. Meads selection from Alberta, which has been identified as a “field guide” for pinpointing OPCA litigation.

“Ms. Arbabi’s declare has all the things of getting OPCA such as, but not confined to: It is a claim of trespass centered on typical regulation legal rights Ms. Arbabi rejects her title and works by using the break up-particular person motif and she requests a vigilante courtroom system,” McLelland advised the court.

“I post that Ms. Arbabi knew she would not have standing for a declare versus me and applied a pseudolegal observe … to intimidate me and provoke a point out of panic.”

She also argued that her strata was dependable for installing the divider following the previous one was eliminated with out authorization by a different owner, and explained B.C. regulation only enables lawsuits to be filed by or from strata companies, not in between individual proprietors.

An image taken from the street view feature on Google Maps shows a low-rise beige condo building.
Arbabi and McLelland are neighbours in this rental making on Vancouver’s West Side. (Google Maps)

For her portion, Arbabi claimed that Canadian judges who’ve ruled on OPCA litigants, as in Meads vs. Meads, you should not truly grasp the ideas of “natural law” and “trespass” that she bases her lawsuit on.

“Many courts, which includes the claimant, have difficulty being familiar with what is usually referred to as normal regulation…. Natural law — or as i call it, just law — is that which is so obvious that it is not expected to be composed down into an act or statute,” Arbabi said.

She went on to say that “a trespass happens when a man or a girl knowingly does the wrong deed … not by incident, not by ignorance, but with intention and without having authority and does not supply cure or lawful justification.”

Arbabi alleged that trespass “bestows one particular a dishonourable position which i do not would like on any one,” and explained she filed the lawsuit to give McLelland a prospect to distinct her title.

“I did not want to wander away indignantly and leave the mark of a trespass on her,” Arbabi stated.

She also denied that her claim has anything at all to do with the building’s strata company, declaring that it has “no standing, legally or lawfully.” 

Arbabi reported her scenario is primarily based somewhat on an argument of proprietary estoppel, a legal strategy primarily based in English typical legislation that shields people today who have been negatively influenced after relying on assurances related to land. She informed the courtroom there was no deck divider when she procured her condominium, and its set up has ruined her home’s “crown jewel” — its look at of the North Shore mountains.

‘I, a girl, am not Naomi Arbabi’

Right before Wednesday’s hearing, McLelland explained to CBC that dealing with this assert has felt like “a comedy of problems.”

An affidavit of service submitted by McLelland suggests when a approach server knocked on Arbabi’s door to serve her with McLelland’s response to the assert, the woman who answered reported she was not Naomi Arbabi.

The method server writes in the affidavit that she found Arbabi’s image on line, and confirmed it was the human being she’d just fulfilled, so she emailed Arbabi to check with for an rationalization.

Arbabi responded: “When you ask i if i am Naomi Arbabi the response is generally no as Naomi Arbabi is an incorporated name and does not refer to a living breathing female.”

According to the affidavit, Arbabi expanded on her concept in one more electronic mail afterwards the identical day, conveying that Naomi Arbabi was a “useless entity corporation” made by her delivery certification.

“I, a girl, am not Naomi Arbabi, but Naomi Arbabi is the name i am called. There is a refined but crucial variance between the two. Sadly, this is not typical understanding yet,” she wrote.

Last thirty day period, Arbabi agreed to satisfy with a CBC reporter to explore her lawsuit, but upon arrival, declined to solution any questions. As a substitute, she go through out a detect warning of outcomes if a story is revealed without her consent.

“As these kinds of hurt is a really grievous trespass, i, shall claim solution in the quantity of $500,000 for these types of trespass plus $5,000 a day for as prolonged as the trespass continues,” it reads.