Volume 91, Issue 74

Tuesday, February 10, 1998

grilled cheese


Scales of Justice: When landlords trespass

By Gordon Fitzgerald, Jordan Fremont and Scott Goodman
Gazette Writers

Though the answers below were written by third-year law students and reviewed by professors at the Faculty of Law, they are not to be taken as legal advice. If you have a serious legal problem, you should seek the advice of a professional attorney. Questions for this column may be submitted to The Gazette office in Rm. 263 UCC or emailed to: sgoodma2@lawlab.law.uwo.ca.

Q: My landlord, Arnt U. Creepy, is renting an apartment to me for the school year. Like many other students, I have a demanding and stressful course load.

To relax, I hold a regular poker and movie nights on Fridays for my close friends. Not too long ago, Creepy suggested that he would need to enter my apartment at one point to repair some faulty wiring. Early last Friday morning Creepy called me and said that he would have to do the work that night. I was concerned about the wiring but didn't want to re-schedule my evening.

I let him in but was annoyed that Creepy did not give me more notice of the intended repair. I want to know whether I'm entitled to prevent him from entering like this if it happens again.
–Shirley I.S. Bewildered

A: If it happens again, you may deny Creepy entry to your apartment unless the faulty wiring is an emergency.

The Landlord and Tenant Act, under provincial legislation, states that if there is no emergency, a landlord must give 24 hours written notice of his or her intended entry. The entry must be during daylight hours and at a time specified in the notice.

You may, however, decide to allow Creepy to enter your apartment despite his non-compliance with the above obligations. Just a guess, but I'm thinking your friends wouldn't have minded putting up with the delay for the sake of safe wiring.

Q: During half-time at a Mustang's football game last semester, a couple of friends of mine saw a golf cart parked beside the stadium and decided to take it for a spin.

Soon into their joyride they were busted by University Police officers. They were charged with being in possession of stolen property and told that their case would be heard at student court. What is student court, why are they being tried there and not in real court, and is this a good or bad thing for them?
–Joy Ride

Student court is, not surprisingly, a court run by Western students. Student judges hear appeals from decisions of the election committee as well as matters arising out of alleged violations of Western's student disciplinary code.

The code sets out offenses and penalties for things like vandalism, theft and wet/dry offenses. There are usually three judges, two of which must be law students. The prosecutor is also a law student.

When the police or Western security charge somebody on campus for something that is covered by the Code, they can decide to have the offender prosecuted at student court rather than at the Ontario Court of Justice. The idea is that justice can be effectively served without adding to the backlog in the provincial courts.

Being tried at student court is probably a good thing for your friends. First, student court can not send anyone to prison or give a criminal record. The most student court can do is impose a fine and/or a sentence of community service.

Another key difference is that, unlike regular court, student court uses the inquisitorial rather than adversarial approach. This means the judges will ask questions of the parties and witnesses rather than having the presentation of evidence controlled by the disputing parties. This generally results in a genuine investigation, rather than the courtroom battle often encouraged by an adversarial approach.

One other thing that might work in your friends' favour – a student judge would probably have an easier time relating to the urge to take off in a golf cart than a 60-year-old judge of the Ontario Court of Justice.

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998