Administrative law – Universities – Student discipline – Expulsion – Judicial review – Bias – Natural justice – Procedural requirements and fairness
Lisyikh v. Canadian Law Enforcement Training College,  O.J. No. 3621, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, September 24, 2007, W. Low J.
The Plaintiff enrolled in a ten-month course of the Defendant College in 2004. He was caught cheating three times and expelled from the College in July of 2005. He then sued for damages for breach of contract and sought return of his tuition paid to the College as well as the interest he paid on his student loans.
The Plaintiff claimed that he was denied natural justice in relation to the expulsion by the College by failing to afford him the opportunity to be heard by an unbiased decision maker. The Plaintiff also claimed that he did not cheat.
The College was governed by a Code of Conduct which was signed by the Plaintiff. The Code states that students caught cheating will be expelled from the program.
The Court found that the College satisfied the onus of proof showing that the Plaintiff was caught cheating on three occasions.
The Court found that the Plaintiff was not denied the minimum requirements of natural justice. The Court held that at a private school, the decision to expel or not expel must not be made by an impartial Tribunal because it would be impractical. Procedural fairness, as required in the circumstances of this case, comprised of the need to bring to the Plaintiff’s attention the intention to expel and the reason therefor, and the opportunity to allow the Plaintiff to make representations. The Court found that the Plaintiff knew that he would be expelled because of the Code, as well as that he had been told by an instructor after the second cheating incident that if he was caught cheating again, he would be expelled. This was a formal notice. The Court found that the Plaintiff had an opportunity to submit written representations; however, he did not do so until ten days after the event. The Court found that even if the explanation had been given at a time immediately after the notice of expulsion, the expulsion was nevertheless justified.
To stay current with the new case law and emerging legal issues in this area, subscribe here.