Appeal Court Success for Kyla Lee of Acumen Law
We often joke that that the BC Court of Appeal never saw a driving prohibition that they didn’t like. But that changed Friday when the Court released their decision in Macht v. the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.
One particular concern we have when it comes to the adjudication of Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) cases by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (A.K.A. RoadSafetyBC) is that the adjudicators appear to regularly disregard the thrust of the legal argument if they can rephrase it in a way to suggest that you were not forwarding a certain salient point. For example, you might argue that the timelines in a case are nonsensical, and you may argue that the timeline may explain why your client is innocent, but if you do not mention the words “not forthwith” with respect to the timing of the ASD demand, they say you took no issue with the timing of the demand. Worse still is that you might say the words five times, and the adjudicator can say in their decision that you took no issue with the timing of the demand.
When she goes before the Court of Appeal she faces three judges who generally seem very skeptical of anyone who questions the wisdom of the Government.
That’s basically what happened in Macht, but in fact we regularly see the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (A.K.A. RoadSafetyBC) contort arguments to get to the ultimate result of upholding an IRP. And this has been our complaint from the beginning. And it’s one of the significant issues that the Courts have yet to address. But we think that they’re starting to see the pattern.
The Court of Appeal decision in Macht is very important because the Court accepted the argument that the adjudicator simply disregarded the very issue in dispute which was the focus of the contention in that case. We see reasoning of this sort all of the time. But this is the first time the Court of Appeal has acknowledged the legerdemain that takes place every day at RoadSafetyBC.
An important IRP decision
Macht v. the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is an important IRP decision because it addresses a fundamental frailty of administrative decision making. An administrative tribunal is allowed to make findings of fact. Those findings of fact are, by law and convention, accepted by the appeal court with very few exceptions. So what that means is that a tribunal can make findings of fact geared to a certain result and the court which later considers the appeal is stuck with those findings when it comes to a review of the decision. But, and this is a big BUT, if the tribunal ignores a legal argument in order to come to a finding of fact that directs a certain result, the court can step in to fix it.
Congratulations to Kyla Lee
In addition to her criminal law and 90-day IRP caseload, Kyla Lee is in BC Supreme Court almost every week to conduct judicial reviews of IRP decisions rendered by RoadSafetyBC. The judges often note that she is listed as counsel in most of the important precedents under consideration. When she goes before the Court of Appeal she faces three judges who generally seem very skeptical of anyone who questions the wisdom of the Government. She’s often peppered with semi-derisive questions. That’s just how it works.
Kyla rolls with the punches and just keeps going. We’re proud of her work and her appeal court success. The Macht decision is yet another major success for Kyla Lee. It is also a success for the people of British Columbia because places a much needed check on the decision making at RoadSafetyBC.
If you’ve received a 90-day IRP, you may be wondering which lawyers you should contact to help you. At Acumen Law we have protected the driving privileges of thousands of British Colombians. If you want us to help you with your case, call us now.