Class Actions Statute 1995

1995 Quebec QC

Civil Section Documents - A Uniform Class Actions Statute

By: Ruth Rogers, Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia

[See 1995 Proceedings at page 41.]


Introduction

This Discussion Paper has been prepared for the Uniform Law Conference to be held in August of 1995. Although it contains excerpts from the British Columbia Class Proceedings Act those excerpts are not intended as recommendations for a uniform bill. Instead, they are to be used to focus discussion on the issues that must be resolved before uniform legislation is drafted. Options for dealing with each issue are discussed and, in some cases, specific provisions are set out as examples. The discussion and examples are intended to assist in focussing the discussion, but comments related to details or issues not covered in the paper are welcome.

The drafters of the paper have relied heavily on the important work done by the Ontario Law Reform Commission (the "L.R.C.") in its 1982 three volume report on class actions. We have also used legislative provisions from various jurisdictions as examples of how specific issues may be dealt with. In particular, we refer frequently to the Ontario L.R.C.'s draft bill, the Ontario Class Proceedings Act (which was passed in 1992), the provisions of the Quebec Code governing class actions and Rule 23 of the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

In Part A, the work of the Uniform Law Conference on class action reform is reviewed and the need for uniformity is examined.

Class action legislation typically includes a mechanism for determining whether or not an action is properly characterized as a class action. Usually this issue is dealt with through a certification procedure. The advisability of such a procedure is reviewed in Part B.

There are a number of possible criteria that may be considered by the court in deciding an application to authorize or certify a class action. These are discussed in Part C, Criteria for Certification.

The rules related to the hearing itself are covered in Part D, Conduct of a Hearing.

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