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Legal Profession - Judges - Independence of judiciary - Powers and duties

Thursday, January 19, 2017 @ 7:00 PM  

Application by the Crown to dismiss an appeal by a Provincial Court Judge for want of jurisdiction. Police investigating fraud sought production of financial institution client records pursuant to s. 487.014 of the Criminal Code. The Judge refused to grant the requested production order. The Crown applied to the Court of Queen’s Bench for prerogative relief. The Court of Queen’s Bench quashed the Judge’s ruling and mandated issuance of the production order. The Judge appealed to the Court of Appeal, challenging the Court’s direction and its interpretation of s. 487.014 of the Code. The Crown applied to quash the appeal for want of jurisdiction.

HELD: Application allowed. There was no lis that conferred standing in respect of the Judge’s objection to the ex parte manner in which the initial production request and the Crown’s application for prerogative relief proceeded. The refusal to grant the production order was properly subject to a request for certiorari and mandamus. The Judge lacked private interest standing to appeal. The underlying proceeding was criminal in nature with no personal implications for the Judge. The Criminal Code, in ss. 674 or 784, did not authorize the putative appeal by a Judge in his or her personal capacity. Nor was the putative appeal authorized by the Criminal Rules, or common law or administrative law principles. In addition, the Judge failed to satisfy the test for public interest standing. The Judge had no real stake or genuine interest in the case. The appeal was not a reasonable and effective vehicle for raising the issue of the legality of the production orders or the correct interpretation of s. 487.014 of the Code, as this was effectively an interlocutory order. Furthermore, serious policy concerns related to judicial independence and the rule of law weighed against any claimed appeal right by the Judge.