Zoocheck Canada Inc., et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen In Right of Alberta (Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and Minister of Environment and Parks), et al.

(Alta.) (Civil) (By Leave)


Civil procedure - Parties, Standing, Judicial review - Civil procedure — Parties — Standing — Judicial review — Applicants requesting public interest standing to seek judicial review of a decision by respondent, Minister of Environment and Parks to renew Zoo’s permit under s. 13(1) of the Wildlife Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. W 10 — Court of Appeal dismissing appeal from order denying application — When should courts exercise their discretion to grant public interest standing on behalf of animals?.


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The applicants have been concerned about an elephant named Lucy, who they would like to have moved from the Edmonton Valley Zoo to what, in their view, is a more appropriate facility.

In April 2017, the applicants brought an application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to renew the Zoo’s permit for 2017/2018. At a preliminary application, the applicants sought a declaration that they had standing to seek judicial review.

The chambers judge concluded that the applicants failed to meet the test for public interest standing and denied their application. The chambers judge also concluded that the application constituted an abuse of process, as a collateral attack on a decision arising out of a previous attempt by some of the applicants to have the court determine whether the Zoo was violating the Animal Protection Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. A 41, in relation to Lucy.

The majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. The dissenting judge of the Court of Appeal would have allowed the appeal and found the applicants qualify for public interest standing. Both the majority and the dissent agreed the chambers judge erred in law by applying an overly broad approach to the doctrine of collateral attack and this aspect of the decision should be set aside.