Attorney General of British Columbia v. Provincial Court Judges' Association of British Columbia

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)


Constitutional law – Division of powers – Judicial independence – Judicial compensation – Public interest immunity – Cabinet confidentiality – Administrative law – Judicial review – Whether the Cabinet Submission is relevant to the Bodner test – How reviewing courts should consider public interest immunity should confidential Cabinet records be produced as a matter of routine


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A Judicial Compensation Commission (JCC) is formed every three years in British Columbia according to the Judicial Compensation Act, SBC 2003, c. 59, (the Act). The JCC makes recommendations to the Chief Judge of the provincial court and the Attorney General of British Columbia about pay and benefits for provincial court judges. The Act requires the Attorney General to provide the JCC’s final report to the legislative assembly. The JCC’s recommendations are not binding. The legislature can accept or reject one or more of the recommendations and set the pay and benefits for judges. However, the legislature must provide reasons for rejecting any of the JCC’s recommendations. Prior to tabling the JCC report in the legislature in October 2017, Cabinet received a confidential submission from the Attorney General concerning the JCC’s 2016 recommendations. After Cabinet considered the submission, the Attorney General tabled the JCC report and moved that the legislature resolve to accept eight and reject two of the JCC’s recommendations. Accompanying reasons were also tabled setting out the government’s proposed response. The Provincial Court Judges’ Association filed for judicial review of the two JCC recommendations rejected by the legislature. A Master of the Supreme Court of British Columbia ordered the confidential Cabinet submission disclosed. Subsequent appeals to the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Court of Appeal for British Columbia were dismissed.

Lower Court Rulings

July 16, 2018
Supreme Court of British Columbia

2018 BCSC 1193, S1711757
Order for production of cabinet document.
August 16, 2018
Supreme Court of British Columbia

2018 BCSC 1390, S1711757
Appeal dismissed.
October 23, 2018
Court of Appeal for British Columbia (Vancouver)

2018 BCCA 394, CA45521
Appeal dismissed.