IS THERE A DOCTRINE OF CANADIAN PUBLIC UTILITY LAW?

Authors

  • George Vegh

Abstract

This article addresses whether there is, and should be, a doctrine of Canadian public utility law. Specifically, it argues that there is currently no doctrine because of the lack of meaningful requirement that public utility regulators produce consistent decisions. This arises from both regulators and courts promoting the value of discretionary decision making. The problem with this approach is that discretionary case by case decision making can be criticized from the perspective of fairness, policy development and economic efficiency. The article recommends a legal requirement that public utility regulators be required to either follow previous decisions or provide a reason for not doing so. An unreasoned departure from a previous decision should therefore be considered an error of law. This constraint should provide more wellreasoned, and ultimately better decisions.

Keywords:

Precedent, Public Utility

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Published

2007-12-01

Issue

Section

Legal Commentary

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