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Archive for the ‘Administrative Law’ Columns

Toward a Unified Theory of Administrative Law?

“Our administrative law is a never-ending construction site where one crew builds structures and then a later crew tears them down to build anew, seemingly without an overall plan.”

Justice David Stratas, “The Canadian Law of Judicial Review: A Plea for Doctrinal Coherence and Consistency

“The “Quest”, shall we say, for a unified theory of Administrative Law is a constant yearning or aspiration but such a theory, in my view, is probably unattainable, in large measure because there occurs, all along, these repeated shifts in values, and these cognitive or epistemic shifts, in what we consider just or

. . . [more]
Posted in: Administrative Law, Dispute Resolution

CUSMA Dairy Challenge, Part II: Canada v United-States

The United States has taken the next step in its trade dispute with Canada and asked for the establishment of a panel to examine its complaint regarding Canada’s administration of its tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) allocations for 14 dairy products.[1]

In its request, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) [2] claims that Canada’s allocation of import quotas exclusively to “producers” violates the terms of Canada’s commitments in the schedule to annex 2-B[3] of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). The request was made pursuant to Article 31.6 state-to-state dispute resolution provisions available when a CUSMA party’s rights have been nullified . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

More Canada-U.S. Pipeline Problems – Michigan’s Push to Shutdown Line 5

The state of Michigan has demanded that a Canadian company, Enbridge Energy Company (Enbridge), close the portion permitted by an easement of its oil pipeline—Line 5—that crosses the Straits of Mackinac, which joins Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Line 5 is an interstate, interprovincial, and international pipeline, owned and operated by Enbridge. It is used to transport petroleum products from Wisconsin, through Michigan, to Ontario, Québec, and further locations in Canada.[1]

Michigan’s Notice of Termination of the easement applies to a 4-mile portion of dual lines along the lake floor and ordered Enbridge to cease operation by May 12, . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

COVID-19 International Trade in a Time of Crisis: Pandora’s Box Revisited, Part I

The spectre of “vaccine nationalism” is one of the recent challenges that the global COVID-19 pandemic has brought us. The immediate and primary focus of governments has been the serious threat to the health of their populations. The resulting economic challenges have been “game changing.”

At the end of January 2021, the European Union became the first major trading power to introduce export controls on COVID-19 vaccines.[1] Other countries have considered export bans. In India, the domestic Serum Institute has been directed to prioritise the needs of India.[2] The U.S. and UK governments have signed contracts . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

CUSMA Dairy Challenge: “Déjà Vu All Over Again …”

On December 9, 2020, the United States took the initial step in the first formal trade dispute under the newly minted (July 1, 2020) Canada-United States Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) made a formal request for consultations with respect to Canada’s import limits on a variety of dairy products, claiming that these measures unfairly restrict U.S. dairy farmers’ access to the Canadian market contrary to CUSMA Article 3.A.2 of CUSMA.[1] Pursuant to CUSMA Chapter 31, the United States may request the establishment of a dispute settlement panel if the matter is not resolved by consultations.

While . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

No Trivial Matter

I am a big fan of trivia. I am pretty much undefeated in any game of Trivial Pursuit since the mid-1980s[1]. One night years ago my family thought they might defeat me playing a DVD-video based version of the game. My victory that night has become family legend.[2]

A piece of trivia I recently learned was that the Audi automobile company takes its name from the legal maxim, audi alteram partem. The founder, August Horch, could not use his surname as it was part of the trademark of his former company. “Horch” in German means “hear”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

WTO National Security Exception – Strike Two!

Authors’ note: U.S. trade policy may well be affected by the results of the November 3rd election, which this column was written prior to. 

In February 2020,[1] we took note of the first adopted WTO dispute settlement panel to interpret the GATT 1994 Article XXI national security exception: Russia – Traffic in Transit.[2] Now in Saudi Arabia – Measures Concerning the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (“Saudi – IP”),[3] we have a second panel that deals with the defence.

Addressing a complaint by Qatar, the Panel found that it had established a prima facie case that the Kingdom . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Last December was a rare instance where the average Canadians’ attention was briefly captured by a matter of administrative law, thanks to Russian spies and Super Bowl ads. Two months earlier, Britons’ attention was also captured by a matter of administrative law, involving a challenge to the prorogation of parliament by the Queen at the request of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In that case, R (on the application of Miller) v The Prime Minister, [2019] UKSC 41, on judicial review the UK Supreme Court held that the prorogation had been unlawful.

The loss was significant for the ruling Conservatives. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

Two 800-Pound Gorillas?

Q: Where does an 800-pound gorilla sleep?

A: Anywhere it wants to.

I was recently interviewed by the South China Morning Post [SCMP] with respect to Premier of China Li Keqiang’s comment this May about China and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership [CPTPP]. A short article written with a quick turn-around time for publication does not allow those interviewed to provide an in-depth response. It is a good piece and gives an accurate snapshot of my “at this moment” view that now is not the time for China’s entry into the CPTPP.

But of course, that was . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

The ATA in the Age of Vavilov

Eight months and a pandemic ago, the Supreme Court of Canada released the Vavilov trilogy (Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65). While Vavilov may have introduced a significant change in how the standard of revie is determined, it confirmed that there remain only two standards: correctness and reasonableness. However, in British Columbia, the third standard of reasonableness simpliciter remains fossilized through the provisions of the Administrative Tribunals Act, SBC 2004, c. 45 (“ATA”). What interests me at this point is how the BC courts have applied Vavilov, given the . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

The Global COVID-19 Challenge: Health and Economic Risk Curves

Administrator’s note: The ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic has posed a challenge to long-term content planning here at Slaw. Please note that this column was written in late April 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a “game changer.” Health and family have always been the priority for me, and that has always been my message to those working with me and my clients. To each and every Slaw contributor & follower: in these turbulent times, I hope you and your family are staying safe.

Governments across the globe are mandating social distancing and related business shutdowns in an effort the “flatten the curve” . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

Isn’t That Special – What Should That Resolution Say?

As you read this, you are invariably working from home and avoiding social situations or public gatherings due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, so it might seem strange to be considering the law applicable to arcane procedural matters applicable to an annual general meeting (“AGM”) for various types of organizations. In fact, many AGMs have been postponed for the foreseeable future. Even worse, some might still be proceeding by way of online conferencing methods many had not even heard of several months ago. As well, the topic under consideration might be on the outer perimeter of what falls within the . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law