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)
Courts - Jurisdiction, Civil procedure.
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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.
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