Civil Procedure Rules of Nova Scotia  
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Part 17 - Administration

Rule 89 - Contempt

Scope of Rule 89
89.01 (1) This Rule provides procedures for starting and conducting a contempt citation, motion, or application.
  (2) Rules outside this Rule apply to contempt processes, including the contempt hearing, with both of the following exceptions:
   
(a)
a judge’s direction for the conduct of the process prevails over another Rule;
   
(b)
a Rule that cannot be adapted to the requirements of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a criminal or penal proceeding has no application to the contempt process.
       
Contempt and order for payment of money
89.02   A contempt order may not be granted to punish a failure to pay money, unless the failure is in violation of either of the following kinds of orders:
   
(a)
an order for family maintenance or support;
   
(b)
an order for recovery of money that expressly provides that a failure to turn over, or pay, funds may be punished as contempt.
       
Citation by judge
89.03 (1) A judge may start a contempt process by citing a person who is before the judge.
  (2) A judge may order a person to appear before the judge for the purpose of being cited for contempt or, if the judge is satisfied the person will not obey the order, order the sheriff to bring the person before the judge.
  (3) A citation for contempt must be given orally in open court by the judge who starts a contempt process.
  (4) The judge must notify the person alleged to be in contempt of the time, date, and place of the contempt hearing, provide a precise description of the conduct alleged to be contemptuous, and advise the person of all of the following:
   
(a)
the person is presumed innocent unless the contrary is proved beyond a reasonable doubt, is not required to give evidence, and is entitled to rely on the presumption of innocence whether or not the person gives evidence;
   
(b)
the judge will preside at the hearing and determine whether the person is guilty of contempt, unless the judge decides that another judge should do so;
   
(c)
if contempt in the face of the court is alleged and the judge is to determine the contempt proceeding, the judge’s knowledge of what took place is part of the evidence;
   
(d)
the person has the right to retain and instruct counsel and to be represented by counsel at the hearing;
   
(e)
a person who cannot afford counsel may apply to Nova Scotia Legal Aid, and court staff will provide contact information;
   
(f)
the person may choose to present no evidence, to present evidence by filing an affidavit before the hearing, or to present evidence after all of the evidence against the person is heard and cross-examination is complete;
   
(g)
the person is required to attend the hearing and failure to attend may result in arrest.
  (5) The judge may request the person’s promise to attend at the appointed time, date, and place, or order the person to do so.
  (6) The judge may provide particulars of the alleged contemptuous conduct in writing after the citation.
       
Motion or application by person other than judge
89.04 (1) A party, the prothonotary, a person appointed by the court to perform an act on behalf of the court, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia, or another interested person may do either of the following:
   
(a)
make a motion for a contempt order in a proceeding to which the conduct alleged to be contemptuous relates;
   
(b)
start an application for a contempt order, if the conduct alleged to be contemptuous does not relate to a proceeding.
  (2) A judge may require parties to a contempt proceeding to attend at a prehearing conference.
  (3) A judge who presides at a prehearing conference in a contempt proceeding may give directions for the conduct of the proceeding and the contempt hearing.
  (4) A judge who is satisfied that a contempt proceeding started by notice of motion or application is not in the interests of any party, or is not in the public interest, may stay the proceeding.
       
Notice of motion for contempt order
89.05 (1) A person who wishes to make a motion for a contempt order may file a notice under Rule 23 - Chambers Motion, in the proceeding to which the alleged contemptuous conduct relates.
  (2) A notice of motion for a contempt order must contain the standard heading of the proceeding, be entitled “Notice of Motion for Contempt Order”, be addressed to the person sought to be held in contempt, and include all of the following:
   
(a)
a statement that the person making the motion moves for an order holding the person in contempt and punishing the person for the contempt, including the full name of both persons;
   
(b)
the time, date, and place at which the motion will be heard;
   
(c)
the same information a judge provides for a citation about the presumption of innocence, right to counsel, and participation in the hearing;
   
(d)
a reference to each affidavit relied on by the party, identified by the name of the affiant and either the date it was sworn or a brief description of the contents;
   
(e)
a statement that the person has the right to require an affiant to be present at the hearing for cross-examination;
   
(f)
a statement that the person may present evidence by filing an affidavit or calling a witness at the hearing.
  (3) The notice of motion for a contempt order may be in Form 89.05.
  (4) A person who files a notice of motion for a contempt order must give notice of the motion to the person sought to be held in contempt in accordance with provisions for giving notice of a proceeding to a party in Rule 31 - Notice, as if the notice of motion were an originating document.
  (5) The notice of motion must be delivered in sufficient time that the applicable deadlines in Rule 23.11, of Rule 23 - Chambers Motion, can be met.
       
Notice of application for contempt order
89.06   A person who wishes to apply for a contempt order may file a notice that conforms with Rule 5 - Application and contains all of the applicable information a judge must provide on a citation.
       
Time for hearing, notice, and filing
89.07 (1) A judge, a member of the judge’s staff, or the prothonotary who appoints a time for a contempt hearing must select the earliest available date that is consistent with all of the following:
   
(a)
the need to swiftly respond to a contempt in the face of the court, if that is alleged;
   
(b)
the need to respond without undue delay to contempt that is not in the face of the court;
   
(c)
the right to a speedy hearing;
   
(d)
the degree of complexity of the contempt process;
   
(e)
a reasonable time for the person alleged to be in contempt to retain and instruct counsel, and for the person or counsel to prepare for the hearing.
  (2) The person alleged to be in contempt must be notified of the motion or application as soon as possible.
       
Compelling attendance for motion or application
89.08 (1) A judge may order a person against whom a contempt order is sought, or an officer, director, or manager of a corporation against whom the order is sought, to attend at the time, date, and place appointed for the contempt hearing.
  (2) A person who is ordered to attend a contempt hearing must be given notice of the order by personal service.
       
Disclosure and silence
89.09   A person against whom a contempt proceeding is started is entitled to the same disclosure, and to exercise the same right to remain silent, as a person against whom an information is laid under the Criminal Code.
       
Discovery
89.10   No person may examine a witness on discovery about any subject relevant to an outstanding citation, motion, or application for a contempt order, unless a judge permits.
       
Arrest, detention, and release
89.11 (1) A judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of a person against whom a contempt order is sought in either of the following circumstances:
   
(a)
the person is notified of an order requiring the person to attend the contempt hearing, is present when such an order is made orally, or agrees on record to attend the hearing, but fails to attend at the time, date, and place appointed for the hearing;
   
(b)
it is likely that the person will be found to be in contempt, that the person will repeat contemptuous behaviour, and that a party will suffer serious loss as a result of the repetition.
  (2) An arrest warrant for a contempt hearing must contain the standard heading, be entitled “Arrest Warrant for Contempt Hearing”, be addressed to the sheriff for the municipality in which the person resides, and include all of the following:
   
(a)
the judge’s findings by which the warrant is authorized;
   
(b)
a direction that the sheriff arrest the person and bring the person before a judge on the day of the arrest;
   
(c)
a direction to the sheriff to inform the person promptly of the reasons for the arrest, the purpose of the arrest and detention, and the person’s right to retain and instruct counsel without delay;
   
(d)
a direction to assist the person to seek, or communicate with, counsel if assistance is required.
  (3) The arrest warrant for a contempt hearing may be in Form 89.11.
  (4) The sheriff is not obligated to execute the warrant, unless a judge is available on the day of the arrest and at a time when the person can be brought before the judge.
  (5) A judge before whom an arrested person is brought may do any of the following:
   
(a)
release the person on the person’s promise to attend a contempt hearing, or to refrain from contemptuous behaviour and abide by conditions of the person’s release;
   
(b)
obtain the person’s promise, but continue the detention until the promise is made as a bond secured against property, secured against money paid to the prothonotary, or guaranteed by sureties approved by the judge in an amount set by the judge;
   
(c)
remand the person to a lock-up facility until the time and date of a bail hearing or the contempt hearing.
  (6) A person who is arrested and detained for a contempt hearing is entitled to bail on the same principles as a person who is detained for the trial of a summary conviction offence under the Criminal Code.
       
Conduct of hearing
89.12 (1) A contempt hearing may be conducted in accordance with the directions of the presiding judge and in accordance with the Rules outside this Rule 89 that are applicable under Rule 89.01(2).
  (2) The judge may give directions that adapt those of the Rules that must be adapted to conform with the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applicable to criminal or penal proceedings rather than civil proceedings.
       
Penalties for contempt
89.13 (1) A contempt order must record a finding of guilt on each allegation of contempt for which guilt is found and it may impose a conditional or absolute discharge, a penalty similar to a remedy for an abuse of process, or any other lawful penalty including any of the following:
   
(a)
an order that the person must abide by stated penal terms, such as for house arrest, community service, or reparations;
   
(b)
a suspended penalty, such as imprisonment, sequestration, or a fine suspended during performance of stated conditions;
   
(c)
a fine payable, immediately or on terms, to a person named in the order;
   
(d)
sequestration of some or all of the person’s assets;
   
(e)
imprisonment for less than five years, if the person is an individual.
  (2) A contempt order may provide that a penalty ceases to be in effect when the person in contempt causes contemptuous behavior to cease, or when the person otherwise purges the contempt.
  (3) A contempt order may provide for, or a judge may make a further order for, the arrest and imprisonment of an individual, or sequestration of the assets of a corporation, for failure to abide by penal terms, fulfill conditions of a suspended penalty, or comply with terms for payment of a fine.
       
Discharge and variation of contempt order
89.14   A judge may discharge or vary a contempt order.
       

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