Saturday, October 24, 2009
The Supreme Court of Canada recently held that a class action was inappropriate in a case challenging a municipal tax assessment. Commentators are speculating about how much the decision will impact the future availability of class actions in Canada because the court's opinion reasoned that class actions are inappropriate in matters where summary disposition is appropriate.
James Morton, past president of the Ontario Bar Association, worries that "a whole host of matters which otherwise might fall under class actions may be excluded. The one that really strikes me is small claims court, where many of the cases in class actions are really too small to pursue otherwise but often are not terribly complicated matters. Perhaps the implications of the ruling are broader than the SCC immediately considered.”
The Lawyers Weekly provides a detailed analysis of the case and its potential impact on class actions in Canada here.