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LIMITATION OF ACTIONS - Legislation - Interpretation

Wednesday, May 05, 2021 @ 6:32 AM  

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Appeal by the Minister from a decision determining the Limitation of Actions Act did not apply to an expropriation proceeding instituted under the Expropriation Act. The Minister appropriated land owned by the respondent in 1992. In 1993, the respondent provided written particulars for compensation for injurious affection. Neither party then attempted to negotiate a settlement of the claim for injurious affection until 2013 when the respondent filed a Notice of Arbitration to commence proceedings in the Court of Queen’s Bench. The Minister filed a motion arguing the Notice of Arbitration was statute barred by the Limitation of Actions Act. The motion was dismissed on the basis that the applicable limitation period was prescribed by the Expropriation Act.

HELD: Appeal allowed. Section 2(2) of the Expropriation Act indicated that, unless expressly stated to the contrary, when a conflict arose between it and another Act, the provisions of the Expropriation Act applied. There was no conflict between s. 31(1) of the Expropriation Act and the Limitation of Actions Act. Providing particulars of the compensation claim in accordance with s. 47(1) of the Expropriation Act did not constitute commencing proceedings according to Rule 16.01 of the Rules of Court. Section 47(1) established a time limit for a procedural prerequisite to a claim for injurious affection, but it did not act as a time limit for filing the originating process with the court. It therefore did not operate as a limitation period equivalent to the provisions of the Limitation of Actions Act and was therefore not in direct conflict with them. The general limitation legislation applied to expropriation claims in New Brunswick. There was no support for the view that a statutory cause of action heard in a court was any less subject to limitations legislation than a common law cause of action. If the Legislature intended to oust the general law of limitations by enacting a complete code in the Expropriation Act, it would not have done so implicitly, while at the same time expressly vesting jurisdiction to adjudicate upon a cause of action in the courts. Judicial characterization of the Expropriation Act as a complete code could not be the sort of conflict the Legislature was referring to when it enacted s. 2(2) of the Act.

New Brunswick (Minister of Transportation) v. Soucy, [2021] N.B.J. No. 50, New Brunswick Court of Appeal, K.A. Quigg, B.V. Green and R.T. French JJ.A., March 4, 2021. Digest No. TLD-May32021008