Anglehart v. Canada

In Fish Cases, Judicial Review/Crown Liability on (Updated )

This cased involved a complaint by one group of snow crab fish harvesters who objected to the Minister reducing the quota in their area by 35 per cent. After rejecting a number of grounds of review, the court imposed liability based upon the tort of misfeasance in public office. In doing so, the court remarked that unlike a number of other grounds for review of a Minister’s decision regarding the management of a fishery, this ground did not require the plaintiffs to demonstrate that they owned the individual quotas associated with their licences. In finding for the plaintiffs the Court said as follows:

The reduction [of the total allowable catch] without justification, these attempts to find an explanation ex post facto, and the Minister’s reaction regarding questions he was asked by journalists after the 2003 fishing plan was released have satisfied me that the only reason the Minister reduced the TAC by 4,289 mt in 2003 was to force traditional crabbers to resume negotiations that could lead to a joint project agreement [for financing the fishery]. I am of the opinion that, in so doing, the Minister acted in bad faith, particularly in the context of all of the changes he chose to make to DFO policies that same year. He exercised his discretion by relying on considerations that are irrelevant, capricious or foreign to the purpose of the statute (para. 252).