Shared Goals, Divided Jurisdiction: The Uneasy Relationship Between Class Actions and Administrative Law

AuthorHelene Love
Shared Goals, Divided Jurisdiction: The Uneasy
Relationship between Class Actions and
Administrative Law
Helene Love
: Access to justice is a critical problem facing Canadian courts.
To address access to justice issues in the civil context, legislatures cre-
ated both the class action procedure within the courts and administrative
schemes as alternatives to the courts. Despite their shared access to jus-
tice goals, administrative law principles prevent class actions from being
advanced in areas that are governed by an administrative scheme. This
paper explores the practical ef‌fect of this jurisdictional conf‌lict by com-
paring the relative benef‌its of class actions to statutory dispute resolution
processes. In cases where jurisdictional conf‌licts arise, the prospective
class members who suf‌fer the most when a claim is diverted to an admin-
istrative scheme are those who require provisions such as contingency
fee arrangements, a representative plaintif‌f, and the protections af‌forded
by the judicial oversight of litigation. I suggest that the legislature could
further the access to justice and judicial economy objectives of both class
proceedings and these administrative schemes by incorporating these
provisions into administrative schemes, or by allowing the superior court
to assume jurisdiction of mass claims in appropriate circumstances.

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