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Executive Summaries Dec 5, 2022

Do Class Actions Change the Rules on Standing?

In an article published by Thomson Reuters[1], our partner Shaun E. Finn and his colleague Sissi Querido comment on a decision authorizing a class action against the government and various Integrated Health and Social Services Centres ("CISSS") and Integrated University Health and Social Services Centres ("CIUSSS") in the province of Québec for allegations of containment and physical abuse that have allegedly occurred since 1950.

The "collective" nature of the class action changes some basic legal rules and requires a flexible approach on the part of courts, as shown by the Superior Court of Québec's decision in E.L. v. Procureur général du Québec rendered last September.

According to the authors, the very nature of class actions clearly calls for a qualification of the fundamental rules used to ensure civil justice within our legal system. But where the class action involves allegations of serious wrongdoing that spans decades and can vary widely, as in this case, there is a risk of crossing the line that separates a legal recourse from a commission of inquiry. As effective as it may be, a class action is not the only mechanism by which to achieve true social justice.

[1] Shaun E. FINN and Sissi QUERIDO, «Commentaire sur la décision E. L. c. Procureur général du Québec – La Cour supérieure adopte une approche souple au lien de droit en matière d’actions collectives», in Repères, November 2022, La référence, EYB2022REP3552.

Read the full article (in French only)


About the author

Shaun E. Finn is a litigation partner and co-leader of BCF’s Class Action Defence Group whose practice includes complex commercial litigation and class actions. He represents corporate and institutional defendants in the areas of product liability, mass torts, consumer protection, privacy, and securities, among others.

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