Anita Endean, as representative plaintiff v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia, et al.

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)




Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch). Please note that summaries are not provided to the Judges of the Court. They are placed on the Court file and website for information purposes only.

Courts – Jurisdiction – Provincial and territorial superior courts – Civil procedure – Class actions – National settlement agreement to class actions assigning supervisory role over settlement to superior court judges in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia – Class counsel for representative plaintiffs in these three provinces applying for directions from their respective courts on whether applications under settlement agreement can be heard simultaneously by supervisory judges in a fourth province – Whether a superior court judge of one province has jurisdiction to sit in another Canadian province to hear matters over which that judge has subject matter and personal jurisdiction – Whether, if the jurisdiction exists, it is properly exercised to hold a joint hearing outside the province with other superior court justices who have concurrent and/or overlapping jurisdiction over the administration of a settlement agreement of class actions which covers the entirety of the Canadian federation.

In the context of a national class action, the settlement agreement assigns a supervisory role to superior court judges in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. It also provides that although each of the three courts is to exercise an independent supervisory power over the settlement within its own jurisdiction, any order by a court only takes effect once there are materially identical orders of the other two courts. In 2012, contested motions were brought by class action counsel in each of the three provinces pursuant to the settlement agreement. Class counsel in each province proposed that the most efficient and effective procedure for adjudicating the motions would be for the three supervisory judges to sit together in one location. The Attorneys General of the three provinces objected to the judges of their provinces sitting outside the territorial boundaries of their provinces. Class action counsel therefore brought applications for directions in their respective province for a determination on the jurisdictional issue.

Lower Court Rulings

June 19, 2013
Supreme Court of British Columbia

C965349, 2013 BCSC 1074
Order on application for directions by class counsel for applicant: a judge of the British Columbia Supreme Court has the discretion to sit with his or her counterparts in another province to hear applications under the 1986-1990 Hepatitis C Settlement Agreement and it is appropriate to hear such an application in a location outside British Columbia alongside the other supervisory judges from Ontario and Quebec.
February 17, 2014
Court of Appeal for British Columbia (Vancouver)

CA041078, 2014 BCCA 61
Appeal allowed: British Columbia judges cannot conduct hearings that take place outside the province.