Attorney General of Alberta v. Joseph William Moloney

(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)




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Constitutional Law - Federal paramountcy - Uninsured motorist responsible for motor vehicle accident in Alberta - Judgment against motorist for injuries caused to another person assigned to Administrator of Motor Vehicle Accident Claims - Motorist fails to satisfy judgment debt - Alberta’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles required to suspend registration of motor vehicle and operator’s license until motorist repays judgment debt or enters into agreement to pay in installments - Motorist granted absolute discharge from bankruptcy - Registrar refuses to end suspension of driving privileges - Whether s. 102(2) of the Traffic Safety Act conflicts operationally with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act or with its rehabilitative purpose and is constitutionally inoperative by reason of the doctrine of federal paramountcy

In 1989, Mr. Moloney was responsible for a motor vehicle accident in Alberta. He was uninsured. A party injured in the accident obtained default judgment against him and assigned the judgment to Alberta’s Administrator of Motor Vehicle Accident Claims. The Administrator became the judgment creditor. Mr. Moloney failed to satisfy the judgment debt. Pursuant to enforcement powers under s. 102(2) of the Traffic Safety Act, RSA 2000, c. T-6, Alberta’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles suspended registration of Mr. Moloney’s motor vehicle permit and his operator’s license. Mr. Moloney applied for bankruptcy and was granted an absolute discharge on June 17, 2011. Despite the discharge from bankruptcy, Mr. Moloney’s failure to satisfy the judgment debt or to enter an agreement to pay the debt in installments resulted in a mandatory revival of his disqualification from driving and suspension of his vehicle registration.

Lower Court Rulings

October 19, 2012
Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

0603 06317, 2012 ABQB 644
Traffic Safety Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. T-6, held to be in operational conflict with Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. B.3; Declaratory relief granted to respondent; Suspensions of driving privileges for non-payment of discharged judgment debt stayed.
February 13, 2014
Court of Appeal of Alberta (Edmonton)

1203-0293-AC, 2014 ABCA 68
Appeal dismissed