Harminder Walia v. University of Manitoba, et al.

(Manitoba) (Civil) (By Leave)


Education law - Universities, Courts, Jurisdiction.


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Education law — Universities — Courts — Jurisdiction — Does the inherent jurisdiction of the courts include the jurisdiction to address contract or tort claims relating to academic matters — Should a party’s right to examine for discovery have priority over a motion for summary judgment?

While he was working toward a Master’s degree at the University of Manitoba, Mr. Walia applied to be transitioned to a Ph.D. program. A Student Affairs Committee denied his request. He appealed to the Board of Graduate Studies Appeal Panel and was awarded a new transition hearing before a new Student Affairs Committee which was not to include any member of the original Committee. Mr. Walia elected not to pursue the new transition hearing. Instead, he appealed to Senate Committee on Appeals. It declined to hear the appeal. In the meantime, Mr. Walia’s status as a Master’s of Science student had been terminated for failure to meet the extended deadline for submission of his Master’s Thesis.

In 2002, Mr. Walia commenced an action seeking general and special damages for negligence and breach of contract, as well as for administrative remedies. The University and the individual respondents moved for summary judgment. In December 2005, Master Ring denied Mr. Walia’s motion to compel the respondents to attend examination for discovery under Rule 34.04(1) of the Queen’s Bench Rules, concluding that the motion for summary judgment should take priority over any right to discovery: 2005 MBQB 278. That decision was not appealed.

The motion for summary judgment was set down for hearing in 2007. A week before it was to be heard, Mr. Walia moved before Master Sharp for an order compelling the respondents to submit to examinations under Rule 39.02 and 39.03 of the Queen’s Bench Rules before the hearing of the motion for summary judgment. Master Sharp dismissed Mr. Walia’s motion; she heard and granted the motion for summary judgment. Keyser J. dismissed Mr. Walia’s appeal, and the Court of Appeal dismissed his subsequent appeal.