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CIVIL PROCEDURE - Parties - Intervenors - Charter litigation

Friday, December 20, 2019 @ 6:32 AM  

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Application by the Legal Aid Society of Alberta (LAS), Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) for permission to intervene in an appeal by the provincial Crown. The decision under appeal declared that various detention provisions of the Mental Health Act were of no force or effect due to infringement of ss. 7, 9, 10(a) and 10(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter). The applicants sought leave to intervene in the appeal. The Province did not oppose the application by the LAS but contested the applications by CLG and the CCLA. The respondent supported all the intervention applications. CLG provided legal services and advocated on behalf of socially disadvantaged individuals. It sought to provide submissions on structural deficiencies in the impugned provisions that affected ss. 7, 9 and 10 Charter rights and could not be justified under s. 1. CCLA sought to provide a national perspective, with submissions for more robust oversight to protect detainees under the Act, and submissions related to capacity in the context of involuntary treatment.

HELD: Application allowed in part. CLG played a unique role in serving under-represented community sectors. It gained unique knowledge and insight from working with individuals subject to the Mental Health Act. Its role and expertise made it a suitable intervenor candidate with conditions that set limits upon the scope of submissions. With respect to the CCLA, it was not established that the proposed submissions would assist in determining the constitutionality of the impugned provisions. Although the CCLA had a laudable record of intervening on rights-related issues, its proposed submissions exceeded the scope of this appeal. The LAS was granted intervenor status by consent, subject to conditions.

J.H. v. Alberta (Minister of Justice and Solicitor General), [2019] A.J. No. 1462, Alberta Court of Appeal, J. Antonio J.A., November 1, 2019. Digest No. TLD-December162019010