Some light reading…
If you have been following the so-called “natural man” arguments and other such crazy ways in which people like to gum up the legal system, then you’re in for a treat. Alberta judge Mr. Justice J.D. Rooke has issued a 180 page judgement breaking down these legal arguments in what has undoubtedly been a long-term hobby project–and will no doubt provide a useful source for a textbook, thesis or dissertation on the subject.
Rooke coins the term “Organized Pseudo-legal Commercial Argument” (OPCA) to refer to arguments that have recently been surfacing in court, advanced by self-represented litigants (i.e. people who don’t have lawyers). These arguments often concern things like the idea that at birth, when one’s name is registered with the government and a birth certificate is issued, a corporate identity comes into existence that is separate from the actual individual signified by the identity. This means that while the corporate identity is liable for payments and taxes–not to mention things like spousal support–the actual “natural” individual, as a separate identity, is not.
Like Justice Quinn’s often caustically humorous judgments, the decision is funny at times–some of the claims of the OPCA litigants are fascinatingly kooky and made me laugh out loud. The less amusing facet of such decisions can be found in the fact that absurdities, such as litigants claiming that they are post-master generals, and that random people are their fiduciaries, and that they are governed by admiralty law (in landlocked Alberta) are using up the court’s time and resources. Ultimately, this is another case of rights versus optimization–and while I’m usually pretty rights-based in my perspective (here, this would speak to the right of such litigants to represent themselves and to advance arguments that are absurd at best and utterly nonsensical at worst), when this results in delays for those with genuine and pressing grievances to resolve, be they self-represented or no. But, of course, the main challenge then becomes where–and how–to draw such a line.
The judgment is here, should you like to check it out (the pdf version is downloadable for reading at your leisure on the pdf-reading device of your choice).