All About Estates

Approval of Minutes of Settlement by a Litigation Guardian

In the case of Potvin v. Windsor Police Services Board one of the plaintiffs (and the main complainant) was represented by the Public Guardian and Trustee as litigation guardian.  Mr. Potvin claimed he was hit in the head by a Windsor Police officer while being arrested which will cause him significant problems for the rest of his life.

The PGT assessed the case after discoveries were complete and were of the opinion it was unlikely Mr. Potvin would be successful.  The PGT then settled the case for a dismissal of the action on a without costs bases.  As is required under Rule 7.08, the PGT brought a motion to approve settlement.  Mr. Potivn contested the motion with the assistance of his father (a fellow plaintiff).

Mr. Potvin’s submissions were: (1) the PGT did not adequately investigate the matter; (2) Mr. Potvin’s rights to free speech under the Charter were being breached by the settlement; and (3) the affidavit in support of the motion sworn by counsel for the PGT was a character assassination and a substitution for a trial.

The court found the PGT did adequately investigate the matter, there is no charter protection for litigation and while the affidavit may seem cruel to those unfamiliar with the legal system it was necessary.

Despite the incapable person contesting the motion, the minutes of settlement were approved and the action dismissed without costs.

Lesson Learned: Usually seeking the courts approval of minutes of settlement is a formality but sometimes it can be hotly contested.

Until next time

Jasmine Sweatman/Jennifer Stebbing

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