The P.E.I. Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal by frequent litigant Deborah J. Kelly Hawkes to set aside a lower court ruling dismissing her application for judicial review of a case that revolved around financial assistance payments.
Hawkes had asked the province's highest court to set aside a decision of Supreme Court Justice John Mitchell.
Mitchell had dismissed her application for judicial review of a decision made by a panel appointed by the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission.
The panel had dismissed a complaint Hawkes filed over a decision of the Human Rights Commission which ruled against her in a case in which she alleged discrimination by officials of the Department of Social Services over financial assistance payments.
Hawkes had argued in that case that the department could not consider child support paid by her former spouse in calculating her social assistance benefits.
Virtually every ruling on Hawkes' journey to the high court went against her. In the end everything came down to the question of jurisdiction.
Chief Justice David Jenkins of the Court of Appeal, with the concurrence of Justice John McQuaid and Justice Michelle M. Murphy, said there was no basis for Hawkes complaint to have ever proceeded beyond the investigation conducted by the Human Right Commission.
He said it was demonstrated at that stage that the subject matter of the complaint was not within the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission to hear.
"The Department of Health and Social Services (the "department") did not deny Hawkes a service; it only denied her a particular amount of benefits under the financial services provisions of the welfare assistance legislation," Jenkins wrote in his decision.
"Furthermore, that denial was not made based on Hawkes' source of income within the meaning of the act. The issue is one of jurisdiction. Clearly, there was never a justiciable issue before the commission, the panel, or the court on judicial review. Her complaint does not come within the parameters of the act."
In the closing paragraphs of his decision Jenkins addressed Hawkes' conduct during the hearing, noting his dismay with what he called the needless consternation caused by wild allegations in both her written and oral submissions.
"She has included bald assertions, innuendo, disparaging statements and insults throughout her submissions on this appeal and apparently in the tribunal and court hearings leading up to this appeal. All of these statements are surplusage that only serve as a distraction from any adjudicator's ability to concentrate on the merits of the appeal."
Jenkins called her wild, unsupported comments a real abuse of the judicial and administrative law process.
Jenkins said like the previous adjudicators appear to have done before him, he continued to attempt to purge Hawkes' intemperate and unfounded aspersions from his consideration, and to focus only on the merits of the appeal.
No costs were awarded in this case.