Posts Tagged ‘Public interest litigation’

Justice Quinn upholds costs protection for public interest litigants in municipal campaign financing case

January 23rd, 2014 by Laura Bowman

In Lancaster v. Compliance Audit Committee et al., 2013 ONSC 7631 (CanLII) Justice Quinn discussed in detail the principles that should apply to an award of costs against a public interest litigant.  In that case an appeal was brought regarding an audit committee decision not to investigate a campaign finance issue under the Municipal Elections Act.

The elector, Lancaster, made an audit complaint relating to the campaign finances of various individuals and when the audit committee under the Act ended the audit proceedings, appealed to the Ontario Court of Justice under s.81(6) of the Municipal Elections Act.  The Ontario Court of Justice dismissed the appeal.  The elector then appealed to the Superior Court of Justice, who dismissed the appeal again.

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Court rejects Conservative Party MPs’ attempt to block non-profit Council of Canadians from supporting public interest litigation

June 27th, 2013 by Paula Boutis

Amidst all the excitement around the Federal Court’s May 23, 2013 decision (pdf) in which the court held that “electoral fraud occurred during the 41st General Election,” the court was also asked to dismiss the applications outright on the basis of how the applicants were funding their legal bills.

This was one of many tactics employed by the respondent Members of Parliament (MPs) to derail the litigation and prevent it from ever being heard.

This issue around how the litigation was funded is of general importance in the context of public interest litigation. In public interest cases, the litigants, whether non-profits or individuals, have limited financial means to pursue the litigation. Funding public interest litigation only gets harder and harder, so it was refreshing to see a complete vindication of the funding of this case by the Council of Canadians.

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Upholding the rights of marginalized groups through public interest litigation

February 28th, 2013 by Shelina Ali

Canada’s human rights record has come under fire over the past several months. In December of 2012, Amnesty International released a highly critical report of the state of human rights in Canada. The report details abuses against vulnerable groups in Canada including indigenous peoples, women, migrant workers and refugees.

Amnesty International notes in its report that “support for strong advocacy and diverse, including dissenting, views in debates and discussion of important public policy issues is being dramatically undermined and rapidly dismantled [in Canada].

This month, Human Rights Watch published a report detailing police abuses against indigenous women and girls in Northern British Columbia. The report found that Canada was not meeting its obligations under international law to address violence against indigenous women and girls.

With the Canadian government under fire for failing in protecting and promoting fundamental human rights in Canada, are there legal avenues that may be available to uphold the rights of marginalized persons, rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

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