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CIVIL PROCEDURE - Jurisdiction - Superior courts - Inherent jurisdiction

Tuesday, May 01, 2018 @ 8:41 AM  

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Appeal by Roumeli from the dismissal of its claim against Gish and Ryan, residential tenants in a unit of a Roumeli-owned building that was substantially damaged in a February 2015 fire that originated in the Gish/Ryan unit. Roumeli commenced a negligence claim in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, alleging that fat or oil igniting on a stove was the cause of the fire that caused extensive damages requiring remediation at a cost of $77,181. The action was dismissed on Gish’s motion because the Court accepted that the Director under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) had exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes between landlords and tenants.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The RTA did not oust the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had original jurisdiction to hear civil claims founded in negligence. The RTA conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the Director only for the purposes of investigating and mediating settlement of questions brought before the Director. There was no clear language in the RTA specifically expressing the legislature’s intention to remove the Court’s original jurisdiction.

Roumeli Investments Ltd. v. Gish, [2018] N.S.J. No. 107, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, C.A. Bourgeois, D.R. Beveridge and J.W.S. Saunders JJ.A., March 29, 2018. Digest No. TLD-April302018004