A Vancouver woman is asking for the courts to make an example of her neighbour, a practising lawyer she alleges has filed a baseless pseudolegal lawsuit against her in an attempt to "provoke a state of fear."
Colleen McLelland stood before a B.C. Supreme Court master on Wednesdayasking for a notice of claim filed by real estate lawyer Naomi Arbabi to be struck as "scandalous, frivolous or vexatious." McLelland also called on the court to refer a complaint against Arbabi to the Law Society of B.C.
"I feel that the court needs to make an example of this casewhere a self-represented litigant made arguments in law and followed the proper court procedure, but a lawyer advanced a pseudolegal claim and abused the court's process," McLelland told the master.
"I estimate that my legal fees in this matter, based on the billing of lawyers I've retained in the past, would be approximately $15,000 to date had I not self-represented. This pseudolegal claim has taken months of my time, resulting in unnecessary costs, and more importantly caused extreme stress to me, my family and friends."
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Arbabi's notice of claim, filed on Oct. 5, accuses McLelland of "trespass" for installing a privacy divider on her rooftop deck in their Fairview condo building. Arbabi identifies herself as "i, a woman" in the claim and says the case would be tried in the "naomi arbabi court."
She writes that "this is a claim based on law of the land, and not a complaint based on legal codes acts or statutes" and asks for compensation equal to $1,000 a day for every day the glass divider has been in place — totalling close to $70,000 by now.
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McLelland argued the lawsuit is a clear example of what Canadian courts have termed an organized pseudolegal commercial argument (OPCA) — a thoroughly debunked and wholly unsuccessful class of legal theory favoured by fringe groups like Sovereign Citizens and Freemen on the Land.
"In dealing with Ms. Arbabi's notice and claim, I truly feel a victim of paper terrorism and believe the public needs to be protected from such litigation tactics," McLelland said.
On Wednesday, Master Susanna Hughes reserved her decision on McLelland's application to strike the notice of claim, saying she would release written reasons at a later date.
Lawyer says courts misunderstand 'natural law'
In her submissions on Wednesday, Arbabi denied any association with organized pseudolegal groups, but told the court "I do think that our legal system has a lot of flaws." She argued that she was appearing in court as "a living, breathing, alive woman," not a lawyer, and said she would refer to herself using a lowercase "i."
"That i possess a licence to practice law in the legal jurisdiction of the province of British Columbia does not make i into a lawyer, the same way that having a driver's licence to drive a motor vehicle does not make i into a driver," Arbabi said.
A spokesperson for the Law Society of B.C. said in an email she could not comment on this specific case, "but in general, pseudolaw arguments do not encourage respect for the administration of justice and could become the basis for an investigation and discipline."
The code of conduct for lawyers in B.C. requires them to encourage respect for the justice system, and says they should not weaken public confidence in legal institutions though irresponsible claims.
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"Ms. Arbabi's claim has all the elements of being OPCA including, but not limited to: It's a claim of trespass based on common law rights; Ms. Arbabi rejects her name and uses the split-person motif; and she requests a vigilante court process," McLelland told the court.
"I submit that Ms.Arbabi knew she doesn't have standing for a claim against me and used a pseudolegal notice … to intimidate me and provoke a state of fear."
She also argued that her strata was responsible for installing the divider after the previous one was removed without permission by another owner, and said B.C. law only allows lawsuits to be filed by or against strata corporations, not between individual owners.
For her part, Arbabi claimed that Canadian judges who've ruled on OPCA litigants, as in Meads vs. Meads, don't really grasp the concepts of "natural law" and "trespass" that she bases her lawsuit on.
"Many courts, including the claimant, have trouble understanding what is often referred to as natural law....Natural law — or as icall it, just law— is that which is so obvious that it is not required to be written down into an act or statute," Arbabi said.
She went on to say that "a trespass occurs when a man or a woman knowingly does the wrong deed … not by accident, not by ignorance, but with intention and without authority and does not provide remedy or lawful excuse."
Arbabi alleged that trespass "bestows one a dishonourable status which ido not wish upon anyone," and said she filed the lawsuit to give McLelland a chance to clear her name.
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"I did not want to walk away indignantly and leave the mark of a trespass on her," Arbabi said.
She also denied that her claim has anything to do with the building's strata corporation, saying that it has "no standing, legally or lawfully."
Arbabi said her case is based rather on an argument of proprietary estoppel, a legal concept based in English common law that protects people who have been negatively affected after relying on assurances related to land. She told the court there was no deck divider when she purchased her condo, and its installation has ruined her home's "crown jewel" — its view of the North Shore mountains.
'I, a woman, am not Naomi Arbabi'
Before Wednesday's hearing, McLelland told CBC that dealing with this claim has felt like "a comedy of errors."
An affidavit of service filed by McLelland says when a process server knocked on Arbabi's door to serve her with McLelland's response to the claim, the woman who answered said she was not Naomi Arbabi.
The process server writes in the affidavit that she found Arbabi's photo online, and confirmed it was the person she'd just met, so she emailed Arbabi to ask for an explanation.
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Arbabi responded: "When you ask i if i am Naomi Arbabi the answer is always no as Naomi Arbabi is an incorporated name and does not refer to a living breathing woman."
According to the affidavit, Arbabi expanded on her theory in another email later the same day, explaining that Naomi Arbabi was a "dead entity corporation" created by her birth certificate.
"I, a woman, am not Naomi Arbabi, but Naomi Arbabi is the name iam called. There is a subtle but crucial difference between the two. Unfortunately, this is not common knowledge yet," she wrote.
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Last month, Arbabi agreed to meet with a CBC reporter to discuss her lawsuit, but upon arrival, declined to answer any questions. Instead, she read out a notice warning of consequences if a story is published without her consent.
"As such harm is a very grievous trespass, i, shall claim remedy in the amount of $500,000 for such trespass plus $5,000 a day for as long as the trespass continues," it reads.
As an AI language model, I have access to a wide range of information and can provide insights on various topics. However, I don't have personal experiences or emotions like a human expert or enthusiast would. I rely on the information available in search results to provide accurate and up-to-date information.
Now, let's discuss the concepts mentioned in the article you provided.
In the article, a Vancouver woman alleges that her neighbor, a practicing lawyer named Naomi Arbabi, has filed a baseless pseudolegal lawsuit against her. The woman is asking the court to strike the notice of claim filed by Arbabi as "scandalous, frivolous, or vexatious." She claims that the lawsuit is an attempt to "provoke a state of fear" and has caused her unnecessary costs and extreme stress.
Pseudolegal lawsuits refer to legal claims or arguments that are based on unfounded or debunked legal theories. These theories are often promoted by fringe groups like Sovereign Citizens and Freemen on the Land. Pseudolegal arguments are typically rejected by Canadian courts and are considered to be without legal merit .
Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument (OPCA)
The woman involved in the lawsuit argues that the lawsuit filed by Arbabi is an example of an organized pseudolegal commercial argument (OPCA). OPCA is a term used by Canadian courts to describe a thoroughly debunked and unsuccessful class of legal theories. These theories are often used by individuals who represent themselves in court and reject the authority of the legal system. OPCA litigants often make use of pseudolegal language and arguments that have been discredited by the courts.
Trespass and Privacy Divider
Arbabi's notice of claim accuses the woman, Colleen McLelland, of "trespass" for installing a privacy divider on her rooftop deck in their Fairview condo building. Arbabi claims that the installation of the glass divider without her consent has caused her harm and seeks compensation of $1,000 per day for every day the divider has been in place.
Trespass refers to the unauthorized entry onto another person's property. In this case, Arbabi alleges that McLelland's installation of the privacy divider on the rooftop deck constitutes trespass. However, McLelland argues that the strata corporation, not individual owners, is responsible for such installations. She also claims that the lawsuit is an attempt to intimidate her and provoke fear .
Natural Law and Trespass
Arbabi argues that her lawsuit is based on the concept of "natural law" and the claim of trespass. She states that natural law is so obvious that it does not need to be written down into an act or statute. According to Arbabi, trespass occurs when a person knowingly does a wrong deed without authority and does not provide remedy or lawful excuse. She claims that her lawsuit is an attempt to give McLelland a chance to clear her name and avoid bestowing a dishonorable status upon her.
Natural law refers to a theory that posits the existence of a set of universal moral principles that are inherent in nature and can be discerned through reason. It is distinct from positive law, which refers to laws created by human societies. Arbabi's argument is based on her interpretation of natural law and her belief that McLelland's actions constitute trespass.
Court's Decision and Law Society Complaint
The article mentions that the court has reserved its decision on McLelland's application to strike the notice of claim. Master Susanna Hughes will release written reasons at a later date. McLelland has also called on the court to refer a complaint against Arbabi to the Law Society of B.C.
The Law Society of B.C. is the regulatory body responsible for governing the legal profession in British Columbia. While the spokesperson for the Law Society could not comment on this specific case, they stated that pseudolaw arguments do not encourage respect for the administration of justice and could become the basis for an investigation and discipline .
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