WHAT IS THE ROLE OF MISFEASANCE IN A PUBLIC OFFICE IN MODERN CANADIAN TORT LAW?

Authors

  • Erika Chamberlain

Keywords:

Torts, Misfeasance in public office, Procedure

Abstract

This article reviews Canadian cases involving claims for misfeasance in a public office that have been decided since the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Odhavji Estate v. Woodhouse. Three main trends are apparent. First, plaintiffs who claim in misfeasance have some procedural advantages, including an expanded scope of discovery and greater resistance to defendants’ motions to strike. Second, the misfeasance tort serves an “ombudsman” function, tainting the defendant’s conduct as abusive and providing a greater degree of psychological vindication to plaintiffs. Finally, in some limited circumstances, misfeasance claims may have a better chance of success than negligence claims, as they dispense with the somewhat troublesome requirements of proximity and policy.

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Published

2010-10-01

Issue

Section

Legal Commentary