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Supreme Court of Canada Overturns Lower Court’s Ruling on Scope of Judicial Reviews

Yatar v TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, 2024 SCC 8 

Reading Time: 4 minutes (approx.) 

By: Krista Nasartschuk (Articled Clerk) 

This case arises from a motor vehicle accident which occurred in 2010. The Plaintiff, Yatar, initially received accident benefits which were terminated in September of 2011. Yatar sought to dispute the denial of her benefits through a mediation process (which was mandatory at the time). This process concluded in January of 2014, with results which were unfavorable to Yatar.  

Yatar then commenced a proceeding before the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT). The limitation period in effect at the time resulted in her request being time barred, and her request for reconsideration was denied.  

Following this denial, Yatar pursued an appeal with the LAT on a question of law as well a judicial review regarding questions of fact and mixed fact/law with the Divisional Court.  

The appeal was dismissed on the basis that LAT appeals are limited to questions of law and that no such errors had been made by the LAT. The judicial review was also denied on the basis that there were no ‘exceptional circumstances’ justifying the review. 

Yatar further appealed to the Court of Appeal and was once again denied. Here the court held that judicial review would only be granted in ‘rare cases’ due to the legislative scheme in place for the resolution of disputes. The Court of Appeal further found the LAT decision to be reasonable and that this would have precluded the granting of a judicial review even if one were to be considered.  

The Supreme Court found that the lower courts erred in holding that a limited right of appeal restrains a judicial review to exceptional or rare cases. It noted that the LAT’s limiting of appeals to questions of law does not reflect an intention to prevent parties from seeking recourse from the courts on other questions arising from the LAT’s decisions. Further, the court stated that proceeding to judicial review on questions of fact or mixed fact and law is in line with the legislature’s institutional design choices. It confirmed that while a judge does have discretion with respect to granting a judicial review, this discretion does not extend to refusing to consider the application itself – at a minimum, a judge must consider whether judicial review is appropriate. Judges are also encouraged to consider available alternatives, for example where review processes have not been exhausted.  

Based on the above, the appeal was granted and the matter was remitted to an LAT adjudicator. 

Link: https://canlii.ca/t/k3gs5  

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