Court examines procedural fairness,
‘public interest doctrine’ in fight over parkland’s pending sale

… The written decision notes that if the land “had been formally designated as a provincial park, as was represented to the public,” any change to its status would have been made public knowledge.  

“Ultimately, the government’s own misrepresentation of the status of the lands shielded its actions from scrutiny and allowed purportedly protected lands to be considered for sale, out of the public eye,” wrote the court.

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Supreme Court Decision

Bancroft v. Nova Scotia (Lands and Forestry), 2021 NSSC 234 SUPREME COURT OF NOVA SCOTIA Citation: Bancroft v. Nova Scotia (Lands and Forestry), 2021 NSSC 234 Date: 20210726 Docket: Hfx,  No.  496023 Registry: Halifax Between: Robert Bancroft and Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association (Applicants) Nova Scotia Minister of Lands and Forestry and Attorney General of Nova Scotia (Respondents) Read more…

“Why Should I Be the First?”

By Christopher Trider

In Court on April 1, Judge Brothers asked Jamie Simpson to explain:

If Canadian courts were to recognize the public trust doctrine, then future Ministers of Lands & Forestry could more easily be held responsible if they failed to consult the public on critical decisions that appeared to be in violation of the public trust.

So it was not surprising that Judge Brothers asked Simpson to explain, “Why should I be the first judge in Canada” to rely on the public trust doctrine, given the reluctance thus far of other Canadian judges to cite the doctrine. Simpson went through statements of Canadian judges from a series of cases arguing for the benefits of incorporating public interest doctrine into Canadian law; from their perspective, the common law is not a fixed, unchanging entity, but something that has changed over time in order to deal with changes in the world at large.

Owls Head Goes to Court by Richard Bell


I can answer Judge Brothers’s question: because somebody has to be the first.

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