Best court judgement ever


I’ve just spent an hour reading this 45 page judgement, and it is hilarious. It comes from Justice Quinn in the Ontario Family Court, in the case of Bruni v Bruni.

The Familylib law blog lists their 15 top quotes:

  1. Justice Quinn commences his Reasons for Judgment with the first paragraph simply stating: “Paging Dr. Freud. Paging Dr. Freud.”
  2. “Here, a husband and wife have been marinating in a mutual hatred so intense as to surely amount to a personality disorder requiring treatment.”
  3. “The source of the difficulties is hatred: a hardened, harmful, high-octane hatred. Larry and Catherine hate each other, as do Larry and Sam. This hatred has raged unabated since the date of separation. Consequently, the likelihood of an amicable resolution is laughable (hatred devours reason); and, a satisfactory legal solution is impossible (hatred has no legal remedy).”
  4. “Catherine and Larry were married on October 7, 1995. If only the wedding guests, who tinkled their wine glasses as encouragement for the traditional bussing of the bride and groom, could see the couple now.” And then later in an endnote “I am prepared to certify a class action for the return of all wedding gifts.”
  5. “Some family trees have more barren branches than others.”
  6. “As can be seen, Catherine and her relatives are one-dimensional problem solvers.”
  7. “I find that Sandra does not exert a positive gravitational pull in this dysfunctional family constellation.”
  8. “The legal system does not have the resources to monitor a schedule of counselling (nor should it do so). The function of Family Court is not to change people, but to dispose of their disputes at a given point in time. I preside over a court, not a church.”
  9. “I come now to the issue of spousal support, historically the roulette of family law (blindfolds, darts and Ouija boards being optional).”
  10. “While Larry’s access-conduct has largely reflected nothing more than inept parenting, Catherine’s parental-alienation behaviour has been evil. Is there a remedy? Dollars cannot replace the father-daughter relationship that Catherine has destroyed. However, in the circumstances of this case, justice has only a Hobson’s choice. Catherine’s alienation of Taylor and Larry must be condemned and, an effective method of expressing that condemnation, is by way of a reduction in spousal support.”
  11. “It is likely that, in the period 2004-2006, Larry was having one or more extramarital affairs. Interestingly, Larry’s father was married five times, in addition to going through several relationships. Perhaps there is an infidelity gene. “
  12. “When the operator of a motor vehicle yells “jackass” at a pedestrian, the jackassedness of the former has been proved, but, at that point, it is only an allegation as against the latter.”
  13. “The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines “dickhead” as “a stupid person.” That would not have been my first guess.”
  14. “I do not know why courts find it necessary to alter the meaning of words. One would think that if the legislators had intended “shocking” they would have used “shocking.”
  15. “On another occasion in July of 2009, Larry said to Taylor: “You put shit in this hand and shit in this hand, smack it together, what do you get? Taylor.” And the endnote “I gather that this is Larry’s version of the Big Bang Theory.”

The footnotes are the best part. Read them all. We needed a judgement like this in that local case of the evil woman who stole her son (Jayden I think) and tried to brainwash him against his father.

Some other great quotes:

At one point in the trial, I asked Catherine: “If you could push a button and make Larry disappear from the face of the earth, would you push it?” Her I-just-won-a-lottery smile implied the answer that I expected.


“Larry gave evidence that, less than one month later, Catherine, tried to run me over with her van.”, with a footnote that “This is always a telltale sign that a husband and wife are drifting apart.”

Heh. Catherine threatened Larry with the Hells Angels, and the Judge noted:

The courtroom energy level in a custody/access dispute spikes quickly when there is evidence that one of the parents has a Hells Angels branch in her family tree. Certainly, my posture improved. Catherine’s niece is engaged to a member of the Hells Angels. I take judicial notice of the fact that the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is a criminal organization (and of the fact that the niece has made a poor choice).

But later he notes a niece Donna who three times threatens Larry with a bullet in the head if he doesn’t sign some papers, so the Judge footnotes:

Donna is a devotee of the literary device known as, repetition for emphasis.” I do not know whether Donna is the niece who is engaged to the Hells Angels member. If she is, they may be more compatible than I initially surmised.

Wonderful. The Judge also directs his sarcasm towards himself:

I confess that I sometimes permit a lengthier hiatus than the schedule of the court might otherwise dictate, in order to afford the parties an opportunity to reflect on the trial experience, come to their senses and resolve their difficulties like mature adults. It is touching how a trial judge can retain his naivety even after 15 years on the bench.

Oh how he must have enjoyed writing that. Certainly many thousands have enjoyed reading it.

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