Court and Tribunal Openness


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Fairgrieve v. British Columbia Review Board 2022 BCSC 1882

The British Columbia Review Board made a determination that Mr. Fairgrieve was unfit to stand trial on a charge of second degree murder. Global News requested a copy of that determination and the reasons. Mr. Fairgrieve opposed the request. The Review Board agreed that Global should have the reasons without redactions (other than certain names on a no-contact list) and confirmed that the “open court” principle applies to the Review Board.

Mr. Fairgrieve sought to challenge the Review Board’s determination that it did not have authority to redact its reasons. Global News was largely successful and Mr. Fairgrieve’s application for an order of certiorari was dismissed.

The lengthy reasons confirm the following:

  1. Reviews of Review Board decisions are criminal and not civil in nature (prerogative relief vs. judicial review);
  2. Global News was entitled to appear in the certiorari proceeding as a party (as opposed to merely granted standing to make submissions);
  3. The Criminal Code does not provide Review Boards with authority to make redactions to reasons; and
  4. The Review Board does have the power to make redactions to its reasons “as a function of the tribunal’s power to control its own process”.