Robert T. Strickland, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada

(Federal) (Civil) (By Leave)




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Administrative law - Judicial Review - Jurisdiction to review the validity of federal subordinate legislation on an administrative law basis - Scope of Federal Court discretion to decline jurisdiction - Federal Courts Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. F-7, ss. 18 and 18.1 - Did the courts below err in concluding that the provincial superior courts have concurrent jurisdiction over these proceedings? - Did the courts below err in using judicial discretion to override clear legislative intent? - Did the courts below err in concluding that the appellants had access to an adequate alternative remedy?

The appellants brought an application for judicial review in the Federal Court seeking to have the Federal Child Support Guidelines, SOR/97-175 (“Guidelines”), declared ultra vires the Divorce Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 3 (2nd Supp). The Federal Court dismissed the application for judicial review for several reasons. First, all but one of the appellants lacked standing to bring the application. Second, the application constituted, in the court’s view, an impermissible collateral attack and an abuse of process in the case of one of the appellants. Finally, the Federal Court was not the appropriate forum in which to address the issue, given the minor role the court plays in issues under the Divorce Act and the breadth of the jurisdiction and expertise of the provincial superior courts in matters related to divorce and child support. The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

May 6, 2013
Federal Court

T-2064-12, 2013 FC 475
Motion pursuant to R. 369 of the Federal Courts Rules, SOR/98-106, granted; application for judicial review dismissed
February 5, 2014
Federal Court of Appeal

A-199-13, 2014 FCA 33
Appeal dismissed