The most interesting IRP development so far?
The often painful narrative of the BC Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme is well documented on our blog. Court challenges, sad tales of the wrongfully accused, incomprehensible positions taken by the Government and some of the steps we’ve taken in our challenges to the IRP law are all there for posterity and for the benefit of our clients. Much of what we do in our challenge to the IRP law we never mention. We’re strategic. We need to be.
But then sometimes it’s all there for the public to see, as it is with the first IRP cases to receive a hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Perhaps the most interesting IRP development so far was the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to allow the appeals to be heard in the Wilson and Goodwin cases. Ottawa or bust – the IRP law is headed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
It’s all so involved…
We have been waiting for months for the court to rule on the leave to appeal in the Wilson case. Mr. Wilson succeeded in BC Supreme Court, lost at the BC Court of Appeal and then we took conduct of the file. Kyla Lee had been in contact with the lawyers involved in the case up to that point. Following the Court of Appeal’s decision, she offered to take over (and for us to pay for it) and so here we are.
Kyla had already been involved in the first attempted appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. When the BC Government indicated that they wanted to appeal the Murray decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, we spoke to the lawyers involved and the driver. They were tapped out and looking for a hand. Kyla became involved (and we agreed to pay for it).
We have work to do
Since the IRP law was introduced it feels as though we never stop working. It would be nice to spend 10 minutes drinking coffee and looking out the window, but we simply haven’t got the time. We now have three law office locations (Richmond, Vancouver and Surrey), many significant cases moving through the courts and all sorts of irons in the fire waiting for the right moment. Our clients asked us to deal with their ICBC injury cases and employment law matters, so now we do that too and we do a damn good job. For us, however, free time is hard to come by.
So it has been particularly onerous to deal with these time-consuming appeals. We’re not pay-by-the-minutes lawyers. We try to do our work as cheaply as possible for our clients. When it comes to these significant IRP appeals, nobody was offering to pay. Still, these are such important issues and we are perhaps best placed to deal with them. So we agreed to fund them and Kyla agreed do the work on the weekends and in the evening.
How would you like to give up 40 of your weekends in a year? Rather than playing golf, hanging out at the beach or climbing Kilimanjaro, Kyla has spent most of her weekends in last year or so working on some of these significant appeals. Vacation? Nope. Just work.
There has been lots of discussion in the office – worry that she might burn out. Jason and John in particular think that this pace is unsustainable. In any event, we don’t encourage it. There is, however, no other choice if you both want to earn a living and work on these appeals.
The decision was in our favour. That’s great – it’s a major hurdle. Then again, it doesn’t mean we’ll win the race. Now we need to prepare the argument, go to Ottawa and make our pitch to the Supreme Court of Canada. We also need to figure out how we’ll pay for this.
As for the outcome at the Supreme Court of Canada, we admit that we like the Supremes in that their decisions for the most part tend to back personal liberties over state intrusion and from our perspective all of the judges seem very balanced, decent and fair. Mind you, all of the judges in various courts so far who have heard IRP appeal cases seem balanced, decent and fair.
The important thing for us it that we’ll get our opportunity to make our case at the highest level of court in Canada. The Supremes are going to get to learn about the IRP scheme. We’ll do our best to explain our concerns when we get our few minutes to speak.