In the 19th Century, English Philosopher Jeremy Bentham warned against secrecy in the administration of justice: “Where there is no publicity there is no justice. Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial.” Those words still ring true today. In countries sharing the common law tradition, the open courts principle is a fundamental, indeed a constitutional principle.

Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C.
Chief Justice of Canada

Justice Horner shoots from the hip, without careful consideration of her words or actions. She contradicts herself, pronounces orders in ignorance of facts as well as law, and makes Alberta Court of Queen's Bench look nothing short of incompetent

How judges can confuse litigants, trample on fundamental principles of Canadian Justice, favor one litigant (mother) over another litigant (father)

Executive summary

When Ms. Rensonnet separated from Mr. Uttl in July 2013, she did so by noticing him by email, sureptitiously and pre-emptively moving Ms. Rensonnet's and Mr. Uttl's children's residence to a different municipality (Justice Poelman's finding), and proceeding ex parte -- without any emergency and necessity (Justice Horner's finding) -- to obtain day-to-day control of the children, to restrain Mr. Uttl from contacting Ms. Rensonnet's employer and/or customer, and to obtain the police enforcement clause. At about the same time, Rensonnet Ventures Inc. (a company owned by Ms. Rensonnet) stopped paying invoices for work performed by Biomea Inc. (a company owned by Mr. Uttl) for Rensonnet Ventures Inc. and for Ducharme, McMillen and Associates Canada Ltd. ("DMA"). Nearly one year later, Biomea Inc. commenced a lawsuit for unpaid work and for damages resulting from Rensonnet's Ventures Inc. failure to perform the contract (Biomea Inc. v. Anne Rensonnet, Rensonnet Ventures Inc., Ducharme, McMillen and Associates Canada Ltd., ABQB file number 1401-05840). Biomea Inc. served Anne Rensonnet and Rensonnet Ventures Inc. but did not serve DMA because I wanted to be sure that the clause in the Ex Parte Order prohibiting me -- Jan Uttl -- from contacting DMA did not apply to the corporate entity Biomea Inc. of which I was the director. Justice Horner clearly confirmed my belief and made it clear that Biomea Inc can serve DMA in "a milllion different ways" and that the Ex Parte Order does not prevent Biomea Inc serving DMA with its claim. Ms. Rensonnet's counsel -- Ms. Tamasine Davies -- then submitted to the Court that I was trying to jeopardize Ms. Rensonnet's employment, without any evidence at all. Justice Horner then told me that I cannot serve DMA for a year and that she has "no need to hear your [my] side right now." Just like that, without any evidence but unsworn submission, Justice Horner told me Biomea Inc cannot serve DMA and told me she has no need to hear from me. However, later on, Justice Horner explained that all that discussion about serving DMA was us "just talking" and does not belong to the order. Also, somewhat earlier, Justice Horner explained that the only thing that matters from any hearing is the written order, that nothing else matters. The order Justice Horner signed did not include any prohibition for Biomea Inc. to serve DMA, just as Justice Horner directed. Subsequently, a few days before the deadline to serve the DMA imposed by the Rules, Biomea Inc hired someone to serve the lawyer of record for DMA. Nearly immediately, Ms. Rensonnet made emergency application -- without filing any application and without any evidence -- to set aside the service. Justice Horner, contrary to her explicit statements earlier, obliged Ms. Rensonnet and stated that Justice Millar's Order restrained Biomea Inc from serving DMA.

Further Details

More than a year after Ms. Rensonnet commenced the proceedings by her ex-parte application, the case finally made it to case management. Chief Justice Wittmann assigned Justice K.M. Horner as the Case Management Justice. I have attended a case management hearing with Justice Horner on October 9, 2014. At the hearing, it was established that the Family Law Case will go to 10 day trial. I did not dare to ask for more than 10 days, because the longer the trial, the further away in the future it will be, and the chidren may become adults before the case is heard. Part of Ms. Rensonnet's September 26, 2014 Ex-Parte Application was that I can not contact her sometimes employer, sometimes client, company called DuCharme, McMillen and Associates ("DMA"). I have done work for both Ms. Rensonnet and DMA, and after Ms. Rensonnet separated, the work was unpaid. After waiting to be paid for nearly a year, I filed a lawsuit against Anne Rensonnet, Rensonnet Ventures Inc., and DMA, on May 28, 2014. Naturally, lawsuits must be served on the defendants. I have served the lawsuit on Ms. Rensonnet and Rensonnet Ventures Inc., and needed it to be served on DMA. Just to be on the safe side, I asked Justice Horner at the case management hearing how to serve DMA and stay clear of the paragraph 4 of the Ex-Parte Order of Justice Millar, September 26, 2013:

The Respondent is restrained from contacting the Plaintiff's employer, DMA, her place of employment, or any clients of DMA;

Justice Horner was somewhat condescending, but pretty clear, as the excerpt from Transcript, October 9, 2014, starting at page 20 follows:

37   MR. UTTL:                                My second question, to the original ex parte
38     order granted by Justice Millar on September 26, that order (INDISCERNIBLE) as a
39     person contacting VMA (phonetic), Ms. Rensonnet’s employers and their employees.
41   THE COURT:                                  Yes.
 2   MR. UTTL:                                   And does it also mean that (INDISCERNIBLE)
 3     date as a officer of Biomere Inc., from serving VMA with this lawsuit -- with the lawsuit
 4     of Biomere against VMA?
 6   THE COURT:                                  No.      How do you propose to serve them,
 7     Mr. Uttl?
 9   MR. UTTL:                                   By mail (INDISCERNIBLE).
11   THE COURT:                                 The -- the -- by -- by -- the court -- the rules
12     require personal service but if you’re serving a corporation, you serve their registered
13     address --
15   MR. UTTL:                                   So, if Biomere sends --
17   THE COURT:                                  -- not their business address.
19   MR. UTTL:                                   -- if Biomere sends a service to their registered
20     address --
22   THE COURT:                                  Right.
24   MR. UTTL:                                  -- that’s not me contacting VMA. I’m not in
25     (INDISCERNIBLE) of the or -- in -- initial order.
27   THE COURT:                                  Sorry, Ms. Davies, I’ll hear from you.
29   MS. DAVIES:                                 All right.
31   THE COURT:                                  Sorry, go -- go ahead.
33   MR. UTTL:                                   So, if Biomere Inc., the corporation --
35   THE COURT:                                  Sorry, if Biomere Inc. is some company that
36     you’re an officer of, is that right --
38   MR. UTTL:                                   Yes.
40   THE COURT:                                  -- and you want to sue Ms. Rensonnet’s
41     employer, is that right?
 2   MR. UTTL:                                    The lawsuit has been -- the lawsuit has been
 3     already filed.
 5   THE COURT:                                   Right.
 7   MR. UTTL:                                    The service had -- had not been effected
 8     because I was not sure about this order.
10   THE COURT:                                   Okay, do you have any family members in the
11     city, Mr. Uttl?
13   MR. UTTL:                                    Yes --
15   THE COURT:                                   Okay.
17   MR. UTTL:                                    -- my brother.
19   THE COURT:                                So one of you have your whoever, your family
20     member, drop the doc -- the document off --
22   MR. UTTL:                                    Okay.
24   THE COURT:                                  -- at the defendant’s address and then take an
25     affidavit of service by that person. Why do you have to be involved?
27   MR. UTTL:                                    Thank you. No, I don’t have to be involved. I
28     just --
30   THE COURT:                                   Okay, well then --
32   MR. UTTL:                                    -- I just wasn’t sure how -- how that works.
34   THE COURT:                                   -- just -- just abide by the order. You can serve
35     them --
37   MR. UTTL:                                    Thank you.
39   THE COURT:                                 -- in a million different ways, only one of
40     which is having a family member or a friend drop it off.
 1   MR. UTTL:                                   Okay --
 3   THE COURT:                                  Okay.
 5   MR. UTTL:                                   -- thank you.
 7   THE COURT:                                  Okay, thank you. Ms. Davies.

Ms. Davies presented a story, without any evidence, that I was trying to jeopardize Ms. Rensonnet's employment, Justice Horner bought it, and told me that I can not serve DMA with the lawsuit for an year.

37   THE COURT:                                 Okay. Okay, okay. Now, Mr. Uttl, ordinarily,
38     I would say to you that you can serve Ms. Rensonnet’s employer by any means other than
39     your own and be within the confines of the September order but now that I’ve had it more
40     fully explained to me by Ms. Davies as to what’s really going on, you have a year to
41     serve Ms. Rensonnet’s employer with that -- with that statement of claim a year from the
 1      date that it’s issued, okay. Was it issued in May of this year?
 3   MR. UTTL:                                     Yes, you only heard --
 5   THE COURT:                                    Okay.
 7   MR. UTTL:                                     -- her side of the story and you haven’t -- my
 8     side of the story.
10   THE COURT:                                   I don’t need to hear your side right now,
11     Mr. Uttl. I don’t need to hear your side right now.
Justice Horner is clear what I am supposed to put in the order on page 42 and 43 of the transcript:
37   THE COURT:                                    -- then here you go. Here you go. So, the only
38     thing in the order, Mr. Uttl, is this trial business and the deadlines. Everything else is
39     just -- we’ve just been talking. I’m going to make a note but we understand -- it does --
40     it’s not some part of my order but I understand we -- the way this case management or
41     the overall umbrella of this case management that I’m doing with you is to get this
 1      familial action to trial as quickly as we can --
 3   MR. UTTL:                                      That’s right.
Earlier, in the same hearing, I asked Justice Horner what takes precedence, the Order as pronounced by the Justice, or the written order. Reason being, Justice Millar ordered the matter to trial on May 5, 2014, yet the Order, prepared by Tamasine Davies, Ms. Rensonnet lawyer did not mention it, and got signed and filed over my objection, completely outside the Rules of the Court. Justice Horner was again very clear (page 7 of the transcript, emphasis mine):
2 So, Mr. Uttl, we don’t have a ton of time so if you -- if you want to waste it reviewing
3 transcripts of things that happened in the past, that’s fine but I don’t -- I have -- I’m
4 leaving here at 2:00, okay.
6 MR. UTTL: Okay. Well, I guess I misunderstood what
7 takes precedence, what is what Justice Millar said or what was in the order
10 THE COURT: What takes precedence is the order. The only
11 thing that matters --
13 MR. UTTL: Okay.
15 THE COURT: -- from the hearing is the order.
17 MR. UTTL: Okay.
19 THE COURT: Okay, that’s the -- that’s the relief that was
20 granted in that hearing. That’s it. So --
22 MR. UTTL: So --
24 THE COURT: -- this order says nothing. This is not an order
25 directing anything to trial and it’s certainly not an order restricting any of the issues at
26 trial
Time went by, we had acquired Case Management Counsel, Ms. Catherine Christopher (who quickly became Ms. Rensonnet's negative advocate and told me I should just accept status quo as the trial justice will not change it -- details here) and the deadine of May 28, 2015 to serve the lawsuit to DuCharme, McMillen and Associates was fast approaching. On December 9, 2014, Ms. Rensonnet's lawyer, Ms. Davies, managed to get Justice Horner sign an order that I have to participate in New Ways For Families program. I did not see the order, Justice Horner was mistaken that it was a standard order, and signed it. Among other things the order stated that neither party can bring any applications to the court until the program is completed. The safe thing to do was to make an application to serve DuCharme, McMillen and Associates before the deadline, but on the other hand, Justice Horner's statements above (they can be served by anyone else than me, what matters is what is written in the order, we have just been talking,...) were pretty clear I did not need to make application.

I had someone deliver the Claim to the lawyer on record for DuCharme, McMillen and Associates, and so nor I, nor my agent, made any contact with DMA. Ms. Rensonnet made an emergency application on May 29, 2015. Notwithstanding what Justice Horner said on October 9, 2014, Justice Horner now claimed she had read the transcript and that she had said something else (page 5):

9 MR. UTTL: I will try. There’s nine reasons. So on the
10 October 9th meeting, I asked for clarification.
12 THE COURT: Yes I have the transcript and it’s very, very
13 clear to me Mr. Uttl that I told you, you could not without further order. So --
15 MR. UTTL: You said --
17 THE COURT: -- I said, I know -- I’ve read what I said. I
18 made it very clear to you, sir, you could not do it without further court order before me.
19 That is clear in the transcript.
Justice Horner was now of exactly opposite opinion (Transcript, May 29, 2015, page 6, lines 12+):
12   THE COURT:                                Sir, the order of Justice Millar from September
13     of 2013 is very clear. You were restrained. Nothing that I have done since then has
14     given you permission or in any way derogated from that restraining provision.
To compare the key utterances of Justice Horner, both in reference to the Paragraph 3 of Justice Millar ex-parte order of September 26, 2013:
October 10, 2014May 29, 2015
Okay, well then just -- just abide by the order. You can serve them in a million different ways, only one of which is having a family member or a friend drop it off. Sir, the order of Justice Millar from September of 2013 is very clear. You were restrained. Nothing that I have done since then has given you permission or in any way derogated from that restraining provision.
The question is, what to do when justice conducts herself in this Orwellian way, how does a litigant deal with alternative facts when they are delivered by presiding justice from the bench? An appeal here would delay resolution of the main problem, the children not having reasonable access to their father.

I was never married to Ms. Rensonnet. However, Ms. Rensonnet and her lawyer, Ms. Davies, successfully managed to bamboozle Justice Horner into believing the parties were married, and Justice Horner frequently referred to another alternative fact, the "matrimonial matter" (transcript, page 16):
31 THE COURT: I’m going to, on my own motion,
32 Ms. Rensonnet, issue a stay and this will be a stay against yourself, Mr. Rensonnet (sic),
33 Biomere and any other corporation that you control, from this date forward, there is a stay
34 on any further actions being taken, except the matrimonial action which I outlined in my
35 order of October 9th, 2014.
37 The matrimonial matter with regard to custody and day-to-day access is going to trial,
38 Mr. Uttl, all your other actions are stayed.
Ms. Rensonnet further bamboozled Justice Horner into mis-using Alberta Rule of Court 3.27, and Justice Horner set aside the service on DuCharme, McMillen and Associates, and extended the time for service for another year. The purpose of the rule is clearly to protect the plaintiff from defendant's conduct.

Initially, Justice Horner had correct understanding of the Rules. From transcript, page 17:

13   MS. RENSONNET:                              There’s one more problem with that for DMA
14     is that since they’ve been served they technically have a lawsuit on their books and they
15     have to --
17   THE COURT:                                    I’m sorry there’s nothing I can do about that
18     now, Ms. Rensonnet, I really cannot. I’ve consider that, I can’t withdraw it, the May 25th
19     deadline has passed. I cannot extend the time that has already passed. So it would
20     leave -- it essentially would leave the action as a nullity which I cannot do, so they are
21     going to have to take my order staying the action and staying the necessity for them to
22     file a statement of defence and report it at the same time.
Ms. Rensonnet, apparently representing DuCharme, McMillen and Associates, suggested a rule 3.27, and after "just a minute", Justice Horner changed her mind:
24   MS. RENSONNET:                             From talking to my counsel, apparently Rule
25     327 does allow you, under exceptional circumstances to extend that deadline for service.
27   THE COURT:                                  Yes if it’s brought in advance of the deadline --
28     it’s passing.
30   MS. RENSONNET:                              That’s 327 -- 326 -- I think 327 --
32   THE COURT:                                  Just a minute --
34   MS. RENSONNET:                               -- I think 327 does allow exceptional -- does
35     allow exceptions. I was going to propose to dismiss this service but then extend the
36     deadline to later so that this whole thing can be revisited later so DMA can be exempted
37     from having to announce this lawsuit to anybody.
39   THE COURT:                                  What’s the current trial date, Ms. Rensonnet?
41   MS. RENSONNET:                              November 13, I believe although I’m doubtful
 1      that that’s going to be possible.
 3   MR. UTTL:                                     November 28th I think.
 5   MS. RENSONNET:                                Sorry, November 28th, My Lady.
 7   Order (Extension of Service)
 9   THE COURT:                                      My mistake, Ms. Rensonnet, it appears the law
10     changed with the new Rules of Court and that I may at any time extend the time for
11     service for the statement of claim, not just before the one year expiration period. So fine,
12     then Mr. Uttl, the service of the claim on DMA will be set aside and I will extend the
13     time for service to May 27th, 2016 for both yourself and Biomere. All right and we will
14     diarize that internally and revisit it before that expiration date. Okay Mr. Uttl?

I have brought the fact that I was never married to Ms. Rensonnet to the attention of Justice Horner numerous times, to no avail. For example, at the hearing on October 9, 2014, before Justice Horner (transcript, page 8):
 9   THE COURT:                                    Okay, so in the familial matter, which you refer
10     to it, there are no issues of property between yourself and Ms. Rensonnet?
12   MR. UTTL:                                     Not to my knowledge.
14   THE COURT:                                   She makes no -- she makes no demands for
15     equity in the -- in the matrimonial home, nothing like that?
17   MR. UTTL:                                     There’s no matrimonial home. We were not
18     married. This is not a familial --
20   THE COURT:                                    Okay, well, sorry --
At the hearing on June 16, 2015, Justice Horner again stated (transcript, page 8):
37   THE COURT:                                  Well, according to the orders that I’ve issued,
38     the issue of matrimonial property is also going to trial, Mr. Uttl. I’ve issued two orders
39     that has confirmed that.
41   MR. UTTL:                                   My Lady, I appreciate that, but we are not
 1      married and nobody made any claim, so I’m not quite sure how it’s going to go to trial if
 2      there is no claim.

On page 89 of the transcript, Justice Horner continues with the "matrimonial property", though she was told numerous times that the parties were never married to each other, and by simple logic, any kind of matrimonial property could not have ever existed.

20   THE COURT:                                   Ms. Rensonnet, since the very first hearing with
21     your counsel in October of last year, the issue of matrimonial property has been raised. If
22     you have a claim you want to make, make it.
24   MS. RENSONNET:                              No. No. What I want is an order that states
25     that we have to make a claim by a certain date because I believe that Mr. Uttl removed
26     the matrimonial home from our -- from our matrimonial dispute, from our separation
27     dispute by getting Susan Mullholland to sue me over it.
29   THE COURT:                                 Then make an allegation in this action. Amend
30     your action and bring a matrimonial property claim relative to that property.
In conclusion, most Justices is easily manipulated. If it is to your advantage, repeat the word "matrimonial" as often as Ms. Rensonnet did, and the Justice will eventually believe it.