Pardon the intervention

  • October 15, 2015

In September the CBA Board approved an interim intervention policy that will go before Council in February for adoption. The new policy is based on the report and recommendations tabled by the Intervention Policy Review Committee in June. Court interventions will remain a strategy that the CBA uses judiciously to advance its advocacy objectives.

The biggest change in the policy is the consultation requirement: while the old policy required would-be intervenors to consult with any CBA group that appeared to have an interest in the case, the new policy requires that all branches, sections, forums and committees with a policy mandate be consulted on any prospective intervention. Timelines are longer to allow for this more robust consultation.

In anticipation of the new policy, the Legislation and Law Reform Committee has already undertaken wider consultations for proposed interventions. The Committee is preparing some guidelines to clarify the expectations in those consultations.

A second major change is the level of court where the intervention can be made. Where previously the preference was for interventions at the Supreme Court level, under the revised policy they can be made at the appellate level. In exceptional cases, interventions may be authorized at a court of first instance.

While the scope of the policy has expanded in some ways, it has narrowed in others:

  • The types of cases in which the CBA will intervene are more clearly defined;
  • The intervention must be on an issues addressing the core principles of the legal profession (a concept defined in the policy) or of importance to the legal profession generally;
  • Interventions on substantive legal issues in a particular practice area will be made in exceptional cases;
  • Every intervention must be based on existing CBA policy;
  • Policy resolutions become more important to back up the CBAarguments in an intervention – and continued broad-based support for those policies within the CBAmembership is a must;
  • The intervention must still contribute significantly to the issues before the court and not merely repeat or reinforce the arguments already being presented.