Doctoring Statistics: C.S.B -v- The Minister for Social Protection,  IECA 116
I have posted before on unsuccessful efforts, in Australia and Canada, to invoke statistical evidence in order to demonstrate bias on the part of an administrative decision-maker. In the Australian and Canadian scenarios, the claims of bias were based on evidence showing that immigration officials invariably rejected asylum applications. An interesting recent Irish case, C.S.B […] Read more
It’s a Dog’s Life: Isbester v. Knox City Council,  HCA 20
Isbester v. Knox City Council,  HCA 20 is an interesting example of the operation of the rule against bias to administrative proceedings. At the centre of the tale is a dog, Izzy, who had attacked and injured a person. Legislation in the Australian province of Victoria gives the Council the power to order that […] Read more
Who Decides to Deport You When There’s a Risk of Torture?
There is a piece in the latest print issue of Maclean’s magazine (sub only) on a very interesting Federal Court case from earlier this month: Muhammad v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2014 FC 448. M’s details were posted on what I have dubbed “Canada’s Least Wanted“, the Canadian Border Services Agency’s ‘wanted‘ list of immigration […] Read more
Laverne Jacobs on “Grounded Impartiality”
The standard for impartial decision-making in administrative law continue to pose difficulties in practice. Here is an interesting new paper from Laverne Jacobs, “From Rawls to Habermas: Towards a Theory of Grounded Impartiality in Administrative Law“: At the same time that Canadian public law jurisprudence has grappled with some very key cases on bias, a […] Read more
Sequesters, Quarantines, or Common Sense?
There are important legal questions about the ability of the Canadian federal government to appoint members of the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal to the three Québec seats on the Supreme Court of Canada. I discuss some of these in this podcast with the McGill Law Journal. These questions will be answered by […] Read more
Child Adoption and the Rule against Bias
Nova Scotia (Community Services) v. T.G., 2012 NSCA 43 is a sad case about adoption. Sad because of the facts and sad because lengthy litigation has prevented a young child being placed in a permanent home.The child’s siblings were in the care of another family. Initially, the child at the centre of the case was […] Read more
Oh no, not that guy again!
Ontario’s human rights legislation allows unsuccessful parties to a complaint to apply for reconsideration of a decision. But what if the adjudicator who already found against the party is the same adjudicator who determines the application for reconsideration: will the party applying for reconsideration really get a fair shake?In Landau v. Ontario (Minister of Finance), […] Read more
Statistical Evidence and Bias
I have posted previously about Sean Rehaag’s empirical analysis of immigration decisions. He also authored an analysis of refugee claim data for 2011: Data obtained from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) through an Access to Information Request reveals vast disparities in refugee claim recognition rates across IRB Members in 2011. In 2011, some Members […] Read more
Sending a Quashed Decision Back to the Initial Decision-maker Caused a Reasonable Apprehension of Bias
The long title explains the result in Conseil des montagnais de Natashquan c. Malec, 2012 CF 1392, a case about alleged discrimination against Aboriginal educators.An initial decision unfavourable to the applicant was made, but quashed on judicial review. It was sent back to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for re-decision. The President sent it back […] Read more
The Mayor, Bias, Procedural Fairness, and Democracy
Plenty of cyberink has already been spilled on the removal from office yesterday of Toronto mayor, Rob Ford. Hackland J.’s decision has aroused surprise, support, calls for reform of Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and, worst of all, bad sporting metaphors. While Hackland J.’s conclusions and interpretive approach are perfectly respectable, I do not […] Read more