Minister of National Revenue v Coopers and Lybrand: 1979

(Supreme Court of Canada) The court sought to define the distinctive characteristics of a quasi-judicial act: ‘ (1) Is there anything in the language in which the function is conferred or in the general context in which it is exercised which suggests that a hearing is contemplated before a decision is reached? (2) Does the decision or order directly or indirectly affect the rights and obligations persons? (3) Is the adversary process involved? (4) Is there an obligation to apply substantive rules to many individual cases rather then, for example, the obligation to implement social and economic policy in a broad sense? These are all factors to be weighed and evaluated, no one of which is necessarily determinative. . . In more general terms, one must have regard to the subject matter of the power, the nature of the issue to be decided, and the importance of the determination upon those . . affected thereby. . . The more important the issue and the more serious the sanctions, the stronger the claim that the power be subject in its exercise to judicial or quasi-judicial process. The existence of something in the nature of a lis inter partes and the presence of procedures, functions and happenings approximating [to] those of a court add weight to (3). But, again, the absence of procedural rules analogous to those of courts will not be fatal to the presence of a duty to act judicially’.


Dickson J


[1979] 1 SCR 495



Cited by:

CitedHeath v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis CA 20-Jul-2004
The female civilian officer alleged sex discrimination against her by a police officer. Her complaint was heard at an internal disciplinary. She alleged sexual harrassment, and was further humiliated by the all male board’s treatment of her . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.199769