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Constitutional Question Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 68

Contents
1Lieutenant Governor in Council to refer matters to court
2Court to certify opinion
3Notice to Attorney General of Canada
4Notice of reference
5Notice to persons interested
6Appeal
7Publication in Gazette
8Notice of questions of validity or applicability
9Action for declaration of validity of Act

Lieutenant Governor in Council to refer matters to court

1  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may refer any matter to the Court of Appeal or to the Supreme Court for hearing and consideration, and the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court must then hear and consider it.

Court to certify opinion

2  (1) The Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court must give to the Lieutenant Governor in Council its opinion on the matter referred, with reasons, in the manner of a judgment in an ordinary action.

(2) A justice of the Court of Appeal who differs from the opinion of the majority may give to the Lieutenant Governor in Council the justice's opinion, with reasons.

Notice to Attorney General of Canada

3  In case the matter referred relates to the constitutional validity of all or part of an Act, the Attorney General of Canada must be notified of the hearing, and must be heard if the Attorney General of Canada sees fit.

Notice of reference

4  On a reference by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under the agreement made between the government of British Columbia and the government of Canada under the Federal Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act (Canada), the Attorney General of Canada and the Attorney General of any province of Canada that has, after December 1, 1961, entered into a similar agreement must be notified of the hearing, and may appear and be heard as a party.

Notice to persons interested

5  The Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court may direct that a person interested, or, if there is a class of persons interested, any one or more persons as representatives of that class, must be notified of the hearing, and those persons are entitled to be heard.

Appeal

6  The opinion of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court is a judgment of the Court of Appeal or of the Supreme Court, as the case may be, and an appeal lies from it in the manner of a judgment in an ordinary action.

Publication in Gazette

7  The reasons given by the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court under this Act must, as soon as practicable, be published in the Gazette.

Notice of questions of validity or applicability

8  (1) In this section:

"constitutional remedy" means a remedy under section 24 (1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms other than a remedy consisting of the exclusion of evidence or consequential on such exclusion;

"law" includes an enactment and an enactment within the meaning of the Interpretation Act (Canada).

(2) If in a cause, matter or other proceeding

(a) the constitutional validity or constitutional applicability of any law is challenged, or

(b) an application is made for a constitutional remedy,

the law must not be held to be invalid or inapplicable and the remedy must not be granted until after notice of the challenge or application has been served on the Attorney General of Canada and the Attorney General of British Columbia in accordance with this section.

(3) If in a cause, matter or other proceeding the validity or applicability of a regulation is challenged on grounds other than the grounds referred to in subsection (2) (a), the regulation must not be held to be invalid or inapplicable until after notice of the challenge has been served on the Attorney General of British Columbia in accordance with this section.

(4) The notice must

(a) be headed in the cause, matter or other proceeding,

(b) state

(i) the law in question, or

(ii) the right or freedom alleged to be infringed or denied,

(c) state the day on which the challenge or application under subsection (2) or (3) is to be argued, and

(d) give particulars necessary to show the point to be argued.

(5) The notice must be served at least 14 days before the day of argument unless the court authorizes a shorter notice.

(6) If in a cause, matter or other proceeding to which this section applies the Attorney General of British Columbia appears, the Attorney General is a party and, for the purpose of an appeal from an adjudication respecting the validity or applicability of a law, or respecting entitlement to a constitutional remedy, has the same rights as any other party.

(7) If in a cause, matter or other proceeding to which this section applies the Attorney General of Canada appears, the Attorney General of Canada is a party and, for the purpose of an appeal from an adjudication respecting the validity or applicability of a law, or respecting entitlement to a constitutional remedy, has the same rights as any other party.

Action for declaration of validity of Act

9  (1) The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to entertain an action at the instance of either the Attorney General of Canada or the Attorney General of British Columbia for a declaration as to the validity of an Act of the Legislature, though no further relief is sought.

(2) The action is sufficiently constituted if the 2 Attorneys General are parties.

(3) An appeal lies from the judgment in the manner of a judgment in an ordinary action.