The Superior Court of Justice demonstrated in Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex v. B. (C.D.) that unfair behaviour in child protection proceedings does not go unpunished.
An award of $1,400,000 was made against the Children’s Aid Society (“the Society”) because it had acted unreasonably during the entire proceeding. Justice Harper found that the Society prematurely agreed to advocate for the mother’s claim without doing a thorough and proper investigation of the issues.
Furthermore, evidence showed that the Society was aware of the significant problems in the claim since several offers of settlement had been exchanged during the course of the proceeding. If the Society realized at any point during the proceeding that the children were not in need of protection, they had a statutory duty to withdraw their claim. In this case, however, the Society continued to bargain costs against a protection proceeding. Justice Harper noted that the Society’s actions were an indication of bad faith and a breach of their statutory duty, which contributed to their hefty costs award.
Substantial costs were also awarded against the mother. Justice Harper found that she had acted in bad faith, lied to the court and the Society, and enlisted the Society in her cause. All these factors contributed to the length (154 days) and complexity of the trial.