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Administrative Law - Judicial Review

Canadian National Railway Co. v. Canada (Attorney General) (SCC, 2014)

In this case the Supreme Court of Canada clarifies that the Dunsmuir principles that determine the standard of review in judicial reviews apply to both decisions of administrative tribunals and decisions of administrators generally:
[53] Dunsmuir is not limited to judicial review of tribunal decisions (paras. 27-28; Public Mobile, at para. 30). Rather, in Dunsmuir, the standard of review analysis was discussed in the context of “various administrative bodies”, “all exercises of public authority”, “those who exercise statutory powers”, and “administrative decision makers” (paras. 27, 28 and 49).

[54] This Court has applied the Dunsmuir framework to a variety of administrative bodies (see, for example, Catalyst Paper Corp. v. North Cowichan (District), 2012 SCC 2 (CanLII), 2012 SCC 2, [2012] 1 S.C.R. 5, at paras. 13 and 35, per McLachlin C.J.). The precedents instruct that the Dunsmuir framework applies to administrative decision-makers generally and not just to administrative tribunals. The Dunsmuir framework thus is applicable to adjudicative decisions of the Governor in Council.

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