Canadian Bar Assn. v. British Columbia, 2008 BCCA 92

JurisdictionBritish Columbia
JudgeLowry,Saunders,Thackray
Neutral Citation2008 BCCA 92
CourtCourt of Appeal (British Columbia)
Date28 October 2007
Citation2008 BCCA 92,(2008), 252 B.C.A.C. 76 (CA),290 DLR (4th) 617,[2008] 6 WWR 262,76 BCLR (4th) 48,252 BCAC 76,167 CRR (2d) 161,252 B.C.A.C. 76,290 D.L.R. (4th) 617,(2008), 252 BCAC 76 (CA)

Cdn. Bar Assoc. v. B.C. (2008), 252 B.C.A.C. 76 (CA);

    422 W.A.C. 76

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2008] B.C.A.C. TBEd. MR.005

Canadian Bar Association (appellant/plaintiff) v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia, The Attorney General of British Columbia, The Attorney General of Canada and Legal Services Society (respondents/defendants) and BC Coalition of People with Disabilities and National Anti-Poverty Organization (intervenors)

(CA034484; 2008 BCCA 92)

Indexed As: Canadian Bar Association v. British Columbia et al.

British Columbia Court of Appeal

Saunders and Lowry, JJ.A.*

March 3, 2008.

Summary:

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) commenced an action against British Columbia and Canada, seeking declaratory relief respecting the civil legal aid system in British Columbia. The CBA claimed that the legal aid system was so inadequate as to offend the Constitution of Canada, written and unwritten, as well as international human rights instruments. The Attorney General of Canada applied to dismiss this action for lack of standing, and alternatively, to have the statement of claim struck under rule 19(24) of the Rules of Court on the basis that it disclosed no reasonable claim. British Columbia also applied to strike the statement of claim and to have the action dismissed for lack of standing.

The British Columbia Supreme Court, in a decision reported [2006] B.C.T.C. 1342, allowed the applications and dismissed the action, holding that the CBA lacked standing and the statement of claim did not disclose a reasonable cause of action. The CBA appealed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

* Thackray, J.A., retired on October 28, 2007, and did not participate in the preparation of reasons for judgment.

Practice - Topic 2230

Pleadings - Striking out pleadings - Grounds - Failure to disclose a cause of action or defence - The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) commenced an action against British Columbia and Canada, seeking declaratory relief respecting the civil legal aid system in British Columbia - The CBA claimed that the legal aid system was so inadequate as to offend the Constitution of Canada, written and unwritten, as well as international human rights instruments - Canada applied to dismiss the action for lack of standing, and alternatively, to have the statement of claim struck under rule 19(24) of the Rules of Court on the basis that it disclosed no reasonable claim - British Columbia brought a similar application - An applications judge allowed the applications and dismissed the action - The CBA appealed - The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal - The court preferred to deal with the question of the adequacy of the pleadings first - The court held that the statement of claim did not meet the requirements of the Rules of Court as the pleadings were too general to permit the enquiry sought or the relief contended for - The court expressed no opinion on the question of standing, holding that only when a reasonable claim was pleaded could the standing issue be properly dealt with.

Cases Noticed:

Thorson v. Canada (Attorney General), [1975] 1 S.C.R. 138; 1 N.R. 225, refd to. [para. 8].

McNeil v. Nova Scotia Board of Censors, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 265; 5 N.R. 43; 12 N.S.R.(2d) 85; 6 A.P.R. 85, refd to. [para. 8].

Borowski v. Canada (Minister of Justice) and Canada (Minister of Finance), [1981] 2 S.C.R. 575; 39 N.R. 331; 12 Sask.R. 420, refd to. [para. 8].

Finlay v. Canada, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 607; 71 N.R. 338, refd to. [para. 8].

Canadian Association of the Deaf et al. v. Canada, [2007] 2 F.C. 323; 298 F.T.R. 90; 2006 FC 971, refd to. [para. 14].

Reference Re Secession of Quebec, [1998] 2 S.C.R. 217; 228 N.R. 203, refd to. [para. 30].

Christie v. British Columbia (Attorney General) et al. (2005), 220 B.C.A.C. 165; 362 W.A.C. 165; 48 B.C.L.R.(4th) 267; 2005 BCCA 631, revd. [2007] 1 S.C.R. 873; 361 N.R. 322; 240 B.C.A.C. 1; 398 W.A.C. 1; 2007 SCC 21, refd to. [para. 30].

Hunt v. T & N plc et al., [1990] 2 S.C.R. 959; 117 N.R. 321, refd to. [para. 37].

Hunt v. Carey Canada Inc. - see Hunt v. T & N plc et al.

British Columbia v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. et al., [2005] 2 S.C.R. 473; 339 N.R. 129; 218 B.C.A.C. 1; 359 W.A.C. 1; 2005 SCC 49, refd to. [para. 39].

Roncarelli v. Duplessis, [1959] S.C.R. 121, refd to. [para. 39].

Lalonde et al. v. Commission de restructuration des services de santé (Ont.) (2001), 153 O.A.C. 1; 56 O.R.(3d) 505 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 39].

Pleau v. Canada (Attorney General) et al. (1999), 181 N.S.R.(2d) 356; 560 A.P.R. 356; 182 D.L.R.(4th) 373 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 39].

Polewsky v. Home Hardware Stores Ltd. et al. (2003), 174 O.A.C. 358; 66 O.R.(3d) 600 (Div. Ct.), refd to. [para. 39].

Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General), [2005] 1 S.C.R. 791; 335 N.R. 25; 2005 SCC 35, refd to. [para. 40].

Vriend et al. v. Alberta, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493; 224 N.R. 1; 212 A.R. 237; 168 W.A.C. 237, refd to. [para. 40].

Canadian Bar Association (B.C.) v. British Columbia (Attorney General) et al., [1993] B.C.T.C. Uned. 169; 101 D.L.R.(4th) 410 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 40].

R. v. Morgentaler, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30; 82 N.R. 1; 26 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 40].

Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada (Attorney General), [2004] 1 S.C.R. 76; 315 N.R. 201; 183 O.A.C. 1; 2004 SCC 4, refd to. [para. 40].

Law v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 497; 236 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 40].

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. v. Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board (1992), 78 Man.R.(2d) 141; 16 W.A.C. 141 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 41].

New Brunswick (Minister of Health and Community Services) v. J.G. and D.V., [1999] 3 S.C.R. 46; 244 N.R. 276; 216 N.B.R.(2d) 25; 552 A.P.R. 25, refd to. [para. 49].

Smith et al. v. Canada et al. (2006), 230 B.C.A.C. 254; 380 W.A.C. 254; 56 B.C.L.R.(4th) 333; 2006 BCCA 407, refd to. [para. 56].

Homalco Indian Band v. British Columbia et al., [1998] B.C.T.C. Uned. G48; 25 C.P.C.(4th) 107 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 59].

T.O.K. et al. v. British Columbia et al., [2003] B.C.T.C. 1544; 20 B.C.L.R.(4th) 170; 2003 BCSC 1544, refd to. [para. 60].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Bullen, E., Leake, S.M., and Jacob, Jack I.H., Precedents of Pleadings (12th Ed. 1975), Foreward [para. 60].

Denning, Foreward to Bullen, E., Leake, S.M., and Jacob, Jack I.H., Precedents of Pleadings (12th Ed. 1975) - see Bullen, E., Leake, S.M., and Jacob, Jack I.H., Precedents of Pleadings (12th Ed. 1975).

Nader, Aymen, Providing Essential Services: Canada's Constitutional Commitment Under Section 36 (2003), 19 Dal. L.J. 306, generally [para. 41].

Counsel:

J.J. Camp, Q.C., S. Matthews, M. Buckley and G. Brodsky, for the appellant;

G.H. Copley, Q.C., and J. Penner, for the Province of British Columbia;

H.J. Wruck, Q.C., A.J. Semple and S.C. Postman, for the Attorney General of Canada;

J. Conkie, Q.C., and M. Giles, for the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities and the National Anti-Poverty Organization.

This appeal was heard in Vancouver, British Columbia, on October 22 and 23, 2007, before Saunders, Lowry and Thackray, JJ.A., of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Thackray, J.A., retired on October 28, 2007, and did not participate in the preparation of reasons for judgment. Saunders, J.A. (Lowry, J.A., concurring), issued the following decision for the court on March 3, 2008.

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