Judge Rejects the Queen’s Claim for Back Wages

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This recent decision by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (thanks, Lachlan) is called The Queen v. Pro Bono Law Ontario, and that name needs some explaining.

In the U.S., criminal cases are usually named something like State v. Whoever or United States v. Whoever (or, preferably, United States v. Joe Francis). Similarly, our former rulers referred to them, and I think still do, as R. v. Whoever, the "R." standing for Rex or Regina (King or Queen) as the case may be.


We are not amused

This is not one of those cases.

The case does involve Her Majesty the Queen, but only because the plaintiff/applicant legally changed his name to "Her Majesty the Queen."

I first wrote that as "Her Majesty T. Queen," and I think that's funnier, but unfortunately it's just not accurate. As the judge notes in his opinion, "the applicant has apparently changed his legal name to Her Majesty (first name) the Queen (last name)," and although Her Majesty didn't use that name in court he did submit proof of the change. The judge said that because the change appeared to be legal—and also because the applicant had alleged he was schizophrenic—he did not see the need to use the applicant's birth name. Still, the judge referred to the applicant only as "the applicant" except when otherwise necessary.

What the applicant wanted was for Pro Bono Law Ontario to provide him with free legal services on the grounds that he is disabled. It had apparently declined to do this on the grounds that the lawsuit he wanted them to file had no chance of success. And that was because what he wanted to do was "launch a civil suit for wages allegedly owed to him for his reign as Her Majesty the Queen."

Unfortunately the decision doesn't say who he wanted to sue for his back pay, or how much per hour the Queen allegedly gets paid. Still, he did have at least one decent argument, which sneaks in at the end of this paragraph from the opinion:

The applicant can point to no evidence which would tend to support his claim of discrimination…. I asked the applicant to elaborate on the reasons why he believes that the respondent would not assist him because he is a person with a mental health disability. The applicant argued that he has been a consumer of psychiatric treatment and on various medications for many years. He argued as well that the fact that he is a person with a disability would be obvious to anyone who interacted with him. He agrees that the respondent advised him that it would not take his case because it appeared to have no reasonable prospect of success…. The applicant also relied on the fact that the RCMP, the City of Toronto and the Registrar have accepted that his name is Her Majesty the Queen. At the hearing he argued that his claim for wages as the Monarch would succeed because he is Queen Elizabeth II and that it is a difficult job.

It probably is much more difficult than it looks, although what I've seen looks mostly like waving. But regardless of the difficulty factor, the judge found that there was no evidence the defendant had illegally discriminated against the Queen.