Category Archives: Administrative Law

Legal comment, news and articles relating to recent important developments and Canadian court decisions relating to Administrative Law.

Suing the Government for Malfeasance

Clients are from time to time aggrieved by the decisions of government which seem to have a singularly adverse effect on their business or interests.  The question arises:  when is an elected government liable to a member of the public for the damage it has caused by its decision?  In Trillium Power Wind v. Ontario (N.R.), the Ontario Court of Appeal recently clarified guidance on this question, noting that an elected official is entitled to consider and respond to public pressure when making a policy decision; political expediency is part and parcel of the policy-making process.  Therefore, as a general rule, in order to establish liability, the client would have to prove that the government’s decision was made, not for a genuine political purpose, but with the specific intention of injuring the plaintiff.  Of course, “bad faith” in administrative law has always been a sufficient basis to invalidate a government action.  In this case, the court has clarified the basis on which the government would be liable in damages.