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Administrative and Public Law

The firm has a diverse public law practice, which includes acting for and against provincial and federal administrative tribunals and ministries in judicial review proceedings, administrative appeals, marketing board proceedings, constitutional challenges and permit hearings. It also includes acting for regulated professions and licensed professionals in disciplinary and other matters.

Randy Kaardal, Q.C. has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada in the area of administrative and public law. Randy has broad experience in public law disputes, with an emphasis in human rights and employment disputes. Mike Stephens has experience before administrative tribunals and courts in judicial review proceedings. Brent Olthuis is experienced in representing local governments and colleges established under the Health Professions Act in administrative proceedings, and has acted as counsel in leading cases concerning judicial review of administrative action. Brent has also represented the provincial and federal Auditors General. Greg Allen is the co-chair of the Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch Administrative Law Section (a position formerly held by both Mike and Brent), is an annual contributor to the Continuing Legal Education's Annual Review of Law and Practice in the area of Administrative Law (a role formerly fulfilled by Mike).

Lawyers from the firm are regularly involved in constitutional litigation, both in terms of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the federal division of powers. Recently, Brent and Claire appeared as amicus curiae in the Reference re Senate Reform, the leading decision concerning the constitutional amendment process.

Some of the cases our counsel have been involved in include:

Democracy Watch v British Columbia (Conflict of Interest Commissioner), 2017 BCCA 366: Acted for the respondent Conflict of Interest Commissioner in proceedings seeking to challenge his opinion concerning certain activities of the then-Premier. The proceedings were dismissed with no impact on the Commissioner’s opinion.

Brito v. Terry L. Napora Law Corp, 2016 BCSC 1476: Represented the Law Society to oppose the plaintiff’s application for a “Norwich Pharmacal order” to obtain discovery of the defendant lawyer’s client information.

Harrison v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2015 BCSC 211: Counsel from the firm were successful in resisting judicial review of a decision of the Law Society's Complainants’ Review Committee not to take action on a person's complaint against his lawyer

Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, 2015 SCC 7: We represented the Federation of Law Societies of Canada in this important appeal that established that the lawyer's duty of commitment to the client's cause was a principle of fundamental justice in Canadian constitutional law. The Court struck down provisions of Canada's anti-money laundering legislation insofar as they imposed record-keeping obligations on lawyers concerning their clients' activities.

Reference re Senate Reform, 2014 SCC 32, [2014] 1 S.C.R. 704: Counsel from the firm was appointed amicus curiae to present independent submissions to the Supreme Court of Canada in this reference on Senate reform.

Behn v. Moulton Contracting Ltd., 2013 SCC 26, [2013] 2 S.C.R. 227: Our counsel acted for the intervener Council of Forest Industries in this appeal considering whether a blockade amounted to abuse of process in circumstances where the parties had not sought judicial review of the issuance of a timber sale licence

Askin v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2013 BCCA 233: We represented the Law Society in this proceeding seeking declaratory relief concerning the qualifications of the Attorney General of British Columbia

British Columbia Lottery Corporation v. Dyson, 2013 BCSC 11 and British Columbia Lottery Corporation v. Skelton, 2013 BCSC 12: Counsel from the firm represented the Lottery Corporation on judicial review and were successful in setting aside orders of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC regarding disclosure of records

British Columbia v. International Forest Products Ltd., 2012 BCSC 746 (affirming Forest Appeals Commission Decision No. 2009 – FA – 007): We obtained and successfully defended a Forest Appeals Commission decision setting aside a stumpage determination issued by the province

Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. Alberta Teachers’ Association, 2011 SCC 61, [2011] 3 S.C.R. 654: We acted as counsel in this leading administrative law case concerning standard of review, failure to comply with statutory time limits, and raising new issues on judicial review.

Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. v. British Columbia, Forest Appeals Commission Decision No. 2008 – FOR – 006(a): We succeeded in an administrative appeal from a determination that Ainsworth had contravened the Forest Act in respect of one of its cutting permits