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Federal Court - Appeals

. Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnson

In Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnson (Fed CA, 2023) the Federal Court of Appeal declined to remit an administrative decision back down, and decided it anew as the law was 'inevitable':
[17] For these reasons, I would allow the application for judicial review. Although courts should generally respect Parliament’s intention to entrust matters to administrative decision-makers, it may be appropriate to decline to remit a matter to an administrative decision-maker where it is evident to the Court that a particular outcome is inevitable: Canada (Attorney General) v. Burke, 2022 FCA 44 at paras. 115-117.

[18] In my view, given the law and the findings of fact in this case, no useful purpose would be served by remitting the matter back to the Social Security Tribunal (Appeal Division) for redetermination because only one reasonable conclusion would be open to it. Counsel for the applicant agrees. Accordingly, I would set aside the decision of the Social Security Tribunal (Appeal Division) dated May 10, 2022 and, giving the order it should have given, allow the Commission’s appeal of the decision of the Social Security Tribunal (General Division), all without costs.
. Coote v. Canada (Human Rights Commission)

In Coote v. Canada (Human Rights Commission) (Fed CA, 2021) the Federal Court of Appeal considered it's inherent authority to dismiss an appeal:
[16] In addition to the authority conferred by rule 74, the Court has jurisdiction to manage and regulate particular proceedings before it and, where appropriate, summarily dismiss an appeal by using its broad plenary powers. These powers have frequently been used, for example, to reject proceedings that are, among other things, frivolous or an abuse of the process of the Court (Fabrikant v. Canada, 2018 FCA 171, at para. 3). Recently, in Dugré v. Canada (Attorney General), 2021 FCA 8, the Court had this to say on the origin and underlying principles of its plenary powers:
[19] This Court has jurisdiction to summarily dismiss an appeal. Although the Federal Courts Rules, SOR/98-106 (the Rules) do not contain any specific provision allowing for the summary dismissal of an appeal, the Court has exercised this jurisdiction for decades (David Bull Laboratories (Canada) Inc. v. Pharmacia Inc., 1994 CanLII 3529 (FCA), [1995] 1 F.C. 588 (C.A.), at page 600).

[20] This power stems from the Court’s plenary jurisdiction (Canada (National Revenue) v. RBC Life Insurance Company, 2013 FCA 50, 443 N.R. 378, at para. 36; Lee v. Canada (Correctional Service), 2017 FCA 228 [Lee], at para. 6). This Court has not only the powers conferred by statute but also the powers necessary for its effective functioning (Canada (Human Rights Commission) v. Canadian Liberty Net, 1998 CanLII 818 (SCC), [1998] 1 S.C.R. 626, 224 N.R. 241; Lee, at paras. 2, 7-15; Fabrikant v. Canada, 2018 FCA 171, at para. 3 and the cases cited therein). As the Court explains in Lee, the Federal Courts, as part of the judicial branch of the government, must have the powers necessary to manage their own proceedings (Lee, at para. 8).

[21] This power also manifests itself in the Rules through the combined effect of Rule 74 (removal of proceedings brought without jurisdiction), Rule 4 (the gap rule) and Rule 55 (power to vary a rule, in this case Rule 74, in “special circumstances”).
. Democracy Watch v. Canada (Attorney General)

In Democracy Watch v. Canada (Attorney General) (Fed CA, 2022) the Federal Court of Appeal considered factors involved when a single judge of the court, hearing an interlocutory injunction, should refer the matter to a full panel:
D. The jurisprudence on whether the motion should be decided now

[20] Interlocutory motions such as this are heard by a single judge of this Court. Where appropriate, the judge can decline to deal with the motion and adjourn it to the appeal panel for its consideration. This is a discretionary call based on certain principles. The most complete, recent discussion of these principles is found in Mediatube Corp. v. Bell Canada, 2018 FCA 127, 156 C.P.R. (4th) 289.

[21] Rule 3 in the Federal Courts Rules, S.O.R./98-106 governs the Court’s discretion: the Court is to "“secure the just, most expeditious and least expensive determination of every proceeding on its merits”". Amgen Canada Inc. v. Apotex Inc., 2016 FCA 196, 487 N.R. 202 spells out some of the more salient elements in Rule 3 that affect the Court’s discretion (at para. 10):
Where the motion is clear-cut or obvious, it might as well be decided right away. Efficiency and judicial economy support this: Collins v. Canada, 2014 FCA 240, 466 N.R. 127 at paragraph 6; Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. v. P.S. Partsource Inc., 2001 FCA 240, 267 N.R. 135. However, if reasonable minds might differ on the outcome of the motion, the ruling should be left to the panel hearing the appeal: McKesson Canada Corporation v. Canada, 2014 FCA 290, 466 N.R. 185 at paragraph 9; Gitxaala Nation v. Canada, 2015 FCA 27 at paragraph 7. Sometimes the novelty, quality or incompleteness of the submissions may make it sensible to leave the motion for the appeal panel to determine: Gitxaala Nation, above at paragraphs 9-12.

(See also Mediatube at paras. 9-11 and Canada (Attorney General) v. Oshkosh Defense Canada Inc., 2018 FCA 102 at paras. 40-42.)
[22] Another important factor is whether an advance ruling would allow the hearing to proceed in a more timely and orderly fashion: Bernard v. Canada (Revenue Agency), 2015 FCA 263, 479 N.R. 189 at para. 11, citing Collins v. Canada, 2014 FCA 240, 466 N.R. 127 at para. 6 and McConnell v. Canada (Canadian Human Rights Commission), 2004 FC 817, 51 C.H.R.R. 228, aff’d 2005 FCA 389; see also Mediatube at paras. 12-13.


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