Is the Supreme Court of Canada becoming disinterested in class action appeals?

On March 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to grant leave to appeal in Kaynes v. BP, Plc, a proposed class action for secondary market misrepresentation against the respondent, BP. The refusal leaves in place the Ontario Court of Appeal’s judgment, which held that Ontario courts should decline jurisdiction over claims by Canadian residents who purchased shares on foreign exchanges because foreign courts were better positioned to decide those cases. The decision put a damper on recent enthusiasm for global securities class actions.

See our previous blog posting on the case here:

The Kaynes refusal is one of many over the past eight months. The Supreme Court has refused to grant leave to appeal in every class action case since August 2014 when it granted leave to appeal in three securities class action cases brought under the Ontario Securities Act, and at common law, for misrepresentations alleged to have been made in respect of shares trading in the secondary market. [1]

This trend signals a shift away from the Supreme Court’s apparent interest in class actions cases in 2013 and early 2014. In 2013 and early 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered judgments in a number of important class actions decisions which determined a variety of interesting issues in securities law, competition law, consumer protection actions and the problem of individual (vs. common) issues. Those judgments changed the landscape of class actions in Canada, arguably lowering the bar for certification in favour of plaintiffs in many respects.

See our previous comments on those decisions:


[1] CIBC v. Green; IMAX v. Silver; and Celestica v. Trustees of the Millwright Regional Counsel

class action Supreme Court of Canada



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