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SECURITIES COMMISSIONS - Powers - Investigations and examinations - Scope

Wednesday, January 06, 2021 @ 7:44 AM  

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Application by Liu et al for leave to appeal a decision of the British Columbia Securities Commission. An investigation order was issued against the applicants that alleged they engaged in conduct abusive to the capital markets but did not allege any specific breach of the Securities Act. Several freeze orders were issued against the applicants’ bank accounts, brokerage accounts and real property. In the subject decision, the Commission dismissed the applicants’ application to set aside or vary the freeze orders, finding to do so would be prejudicial to the public interest.

HELD: Application allowed. The interpretation of ss. 151 and 171 of the Securities Act was of importance to the practice as was the scope of the Commission’s powers with respect to freeze orders. The pecuniary and proprietary interests currently frozen rendered the appeal significant to the parties involved. The appeal had merit despite the high degree of deference afforded to the Commission. It was in the interests of justice to hear the appeal. The appeal would not interfere with the ongoing investigation.

British Columbia (Securities Commission) v. Liu, [2020] B.C.J. No. 1934, British Columbia Court of Appeal, E.A. Bennett J.A., November 5, 2020. Digest No. TLD-January42021005