Court rules that ex-husband exploited legal system to harass ex-wife

court declares ex-husband vexatious litigant

Court rules that ex-husband exploited legal system to harass ex-wife

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria recently declared an ex-husband a vexatious litigant and ordered that he may only institute new proceedings against his ex-wife with the court’s consent.

This comes after the ex-husband exploited the legal system to harass his ex-wife.

The fed-up ex-wife, who may not be identified as most of the litigation involve their divorce and children, approached the court to have her former husband declared a vexatious litigant because he had been dragging her to court constantly over the years for frivolous reasons, supposedly to annoy her.

The court agreed with the wife, who said the husband ran to court on every possible occasion, forcing her to incur legal costs to every time obtain a lawyer. 

Although the husband lost almost every case against her and was ordered to pay the legal bills, he never paid it, alleging that he was cash strapped due to being under financial administration.

Amongst the countless applications the husband has launched over the years since they became estranged, even count some “orders” which the court frowned upon as it was uncertain who, if anyone, issued it.

This latest application alleged that she was a “bad” parent, because she sent one of their two children to school while there was a Covid-19 positive case at the school. She told the court that the school had contingency plans and all children were allowed back at school. The father nevertheless applied for sole custody since he insisted that she was not a suitable parent.

Since this application was ongoing, the mother requested the court to order that he post a R160 000 security for the legal costs before he could pursue this matter, with which Judge Mashudu Munzhelele agreed. He could only continue with this application once he paid the money as security and she put a stop to further applications without the court’s consent.

An investigation was also earlier ordered by Judge Sulet Potterill into how he succeeded to overturn a protection order his wife had obtained against him after bringing at least four urgent applications to try and overturn it. It seemed that he persevered with applications until he could find a judge to see his point of view and eventually and mysteriously obtained such an order.

It could not be established which judge issued this order and it was since rescinded by Judge Potterill.

The couple’s divorce order was also questioned because the husband had the police serve it on the wife while the proceedings were still pending according to her. The divorce was defended by her since she disputed certain aspects. It was also not clear from the divorce document when that “order” was granted since the true divorce order in terms of which the parties reached certain agreements, was only issued three years later.

In opposing this latest application, he alleged the wife was vexatious because she was trying to block his constitutional right to litigate but she said he just wanted to drain her financially, as he continue losing the cases without settling the legal bills.

Judge Munzhelele said his desperation to harass his wife showed in the mysterious order under investigation since he “resorted to improper means to achieve what he wanted,” and concluded that he persistently abused the legal processes for improper purposes.

Written by Heinrich Gonzales, Director of HFG Attorneys Inc.

Disclaimer

The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

HFG Attorneys in Paarl, Western Cape, specialises in four main areas, including family law, general litigation, criminal defence and firearm law.

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