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CROWN - Federal parliament - House of Commons - Government boards and commissions - Appeals and judicial review - Jurisdiction to review

Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 8:33 AM  

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Preliminary motion by the respondents, the Board of Internal Economy (Board) and the Speaker of the House of Commons, to strike four applications for judicial review. The applications for judicial review were brought by the applicants, all members or former members of Parliament for the New Democratic Party of Canada. The applications challenged decisions of the Board that the applicants had used parliamentary resources and services in contravention of the Board’s bylaws. The respondents took the position that the Federal Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the applications for judicial review pursuant to the Federal Courts Act, the doctrine of parliamentary privilege, and the House of Commons’ exclusive right to manage its internal affairs. The intervener was a former member of Parliament for the Conservative Party. He supported the position of the applicants and argued in favour of the Federal Court’s jurisdiction over the matters.

HELD: Motion dismissed. The Federal Court was granted exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and determine applications for judicial review of any federal board, commission, or other tribunal. To be considered a federal board, commission, or other tribunal, a board had to exercise jurisdiction or powers conferred by or under an Act of Parliament. The Board was established under the Parliament of Canada Act, federal legislation. The Board was a federal board, commission, or other tribunal such that the Federal Court had jurisdiction over those decisions not covered by a recognized category of parliamentary privilege. The respondents failed to demonstrate that the decisions under review fell within an established category of parliamentary privilege. They also failed to demonstrate that the decisions under review were covered by the necessary immunity that the law provided for members of Parliament in order for them to do their legislative work.

Boulerice v. Canada (Attorney General), [2017] F.C.J. No. 1016, Federal Court, J. Gagné J., October 24, 2017. Digest No. TLD-November272017002