Attorney General of British Columbia v. Council of Canadians with Disabilities

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)


Civil procedure - Parties, Standing - Civil procedure - Parties - Standing - Public interest standing - Public interest group and individual plaintiffs commence action claiming mental health legislation infringes Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Individual plaintiffs discontinue their claims - Public interest group seeks standing to continue without co-plaintiffs - Whether legality and access to justice components of the test for public interest standing are key components that must be accorded particular weight - Whether factual context is sufficient to grant public interest standing.


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The Council of Canadians with Disabilities and two plaintiffs commenced an action claiming that provisions of mental health legislation in British Columbia infringe s. 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and ss. 1, 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The two individual plaintiffs discontinued their claims and withdrew from the litigation. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities filed an amended statement of claim removing the particulars pleaded by the individual plaintiffs and setting out generalized allegations of constitutional infringements. The Attorney General of British Columbia applied for summary judgment dismissing the action. The application judge granted summary judgment and dismissed the action on the basis that the Council of Canadians with Disabilities lacks public interest standing to pursue the claim on its own. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal, set aside the summary judgment, and remitted the matter of public interest standing for reconsideration.