TORONTO, Dec. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - In a major win for access to justice, the
Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a decision to certify the "market
timing" class action (Fischer v CI Mutual Funds).
The decision gives a green light to class actions even where a parallel
regulatory proceeding has generated some compensation, if that
proceeding did not provide sufficient access to justice. The decision
will have broad implications for many areas of class actions.
Peter Jervis of Rochon Genova LLP, the law firm representing the investors, said "the decision emphasizes
the important role that class actions play in providing access to
justice for aggrieved investors. The Supreme Court found that class
actions provide not only a fair and accessible procedure to investors
to pursue their claims against institutions, but also in ensuring that
investors can achieve substantial recovery of losses caused by those
"The Supreme Court put its money where its mouth is and made access to
justice both accessible and just," said Allan Hutchinson, who also
represented the investors at the Supreme Court.
The decision is great news for plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits, and
means that corporations can no longer shelter behind a regulatory
investigation into their conduct. The decision shows that the goal of
access to justice is receiving increased attention at the Supreme Court
of Canada, and that parallel procedures where access to justice is
lacking will not prevent class actions plaintiffs from getting their
day in court.
The Supreme Court stated that, "[a]ccess to justice is an important goal
of class proceedings". It found that the regulatory proceeding before
the OSC had not provided access to justice to the investors, either
procedurally, because the investors had minimal rights to participate
in the proceeding and there was no disclosure of how the settlement
amounts were reached, or substantively, because the payouts ordered by
the OSC were only a small proportion of the investors' losses. The
Court found that only a class action would overcome the economic
barriers to access to justice that the investors would otherwise face.
A link to the decision can be found here: http://scc-csc.lexum.com/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/13377/index.do
SOURCE: ROCHON GENOVA LLP
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