Supreme Court of Canada Refuses to Stay Injunction Order

On April 25, 2002, the Supreme Court of Canada refused the Attorney General of Canada a stay of an interlocutory order exempting lawyers from the Suspicious Transaction reporting requirements as contained in what is now the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. The interlocutory order was granted in the first instance by Madam Justice Marion Allan of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, pending a full hearing of the petitions of the Law Society of British Columbia and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada challenging the constitutionality of the provisions applicable to legal counsel. This was the first time in the history of Canada that an exemption has been granted pendent lite from the application of a provision of a federal statute. The Attorney General’s appeal from this order was dismissed from the bench by a unanimous judgment of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The government abandoned its appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada following the refusal of a stay. In due course, after paying the Petitioners’ costs, the government repealed the regulation making the reporting provisions of the Act applicable to lawyers in Canada.

The Law Society of British Columbia was represented by Jack Giles, Q.C. and Cassandra Douils of Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada was represented by Josiah Wood, Q.C. and Roy Millen of Blake, Cassels & Graydon. The Canadian Bar Association, Intervenor, was represented by Ron Skolrood of Lawson Lundell Lawson & McIntosh. The Attorney General of Canada was represented by harry J. Wruck, Q.C., Raymond D. Leong, and W. Paul Riley.