Attorney General of British Columbia v. Provincial Court Judges' Association of British Columbia

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)


Constitutional law - Division of powers, Administrative law, Judicial review, Remedies.


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Constitutional Law – Division of powers – Administrative law – Judicial Review – Remedies – Extent to which a court can address substantive reasons for a fiscal decision by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in a judicial review – Whether Legislative Assembly is prohibited from advancing new arguments or reiterating prior arguments or from considering current fiscal context while conducting a court-ordered reconsideration of a Judges Compensation Commission report – Constitutional limits on court-ordered remedies upon judicial review of Legislative Assembly’s response to Judges Compensation Commission recommendations – Judicial Compensation Act, S.B.C. 2003 c. 59.

Pursuant to the Judicial Compensation Act, S.B.C. 2003 c. 59, a Judges Compensation Commission’s (“JCC”) report in 2010 (the “2010 Report”) was put before the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Three of 15 recommendations for Provincial Court Judges’ compensation set out in the 2010 Report are in issue: a salary increase compounded annually over fiscal years 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14; an increase in the Judges’ pension accrual rate from 3% to 3.5%; and, an extension of the pension contribution period from age 71 to age 75. These three recommendations and one that is not in issue were rejected by the Legislative Assembly’s 2011 Response. On an application for judicial review, Macaulay J. ordered the Legislative Assembly to reconsider its 2011 Response, finding that it had wrongly diverted its attention from the evidence and conclusions of the Commission as they related to the applicable constitutional requirements. In 2013, the Legislative Assembly issued a second response, its 2013 Response. It approved only a 1.5% salary increase in fiscal year 2013-2014. It made no change to the pension accrual rate or the pension contribution period. The Provincial Court Judges’ Association of British Columbia unsuccessfully applied for judicial review of the 2013 Response. A majority of the Court of Appeal granted an appeal and set aside the 2013 Response.