Yet another decision was released recently showing the tendency of courts to go the extra mile in hearing out student claimants, even when they don’t seem to have much of a case or to be coming before the courts with clean hands.

In Azar c . Concordia University (CanLII), a former student brought an action to get a new hearing before an internal university body about an allegation of plagiarism.  Apparently, the student had admitted in 2004 to breaking and entering into a professor’s office and tampering with exams.

In short, the court considered the student’s attempt to be an abuse of process and had no patience for him but still provided him the forum to make his point:

[71]            In the case at hand, under the guise of a different title, Plaintiff is attempting to raise the same issues which were alleged in the 2007 Proceedings and adjudicated upon before all instances up to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

[72]             Unhappy about Concordia’s refusal to reinstate him or provide him with his degree despite the Decision to expel and the fate of his legal recourse, Plaintiff is making use of the legal system to threaten and pressure the University to reconsider its position, not without being aware of the resulting prejudice for Concordia in terms of costs and time, not to mention the burden imposed on the legal system in general.  All this, without even having assumed the legal costs associated with the previous dis­missals of his 2007 Proceedings. 

[73]            While the Court appreciates Plaintiff’s distress in the circumstances and the fact that he may be acting out of despair, it must also underline that Plaintiff is unfortunately the author of his own misfortune.

[74]            The Court is of the opinion that, in light of the principles set out by the Court of Appeal in the above-cited case of Acadia Subaru[38], Plaintiff’s use of procedure is unrea­sonable and vexatious, to the point where it is appropriate for this Court to declare his proceedings improper and dilatory within the meaning article 54.1 C.C.P.

Each university appears to have at least one student like this, who persists to use the legal system as a sounding board even though they do not have a leg to stand on.  Universities must take any steps they can to avoid finding themselves in situations like this.

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