Alberta Court held it had no jurisdiction to review the Law Enforcement Review Board’s decision to dismiss a constable

22. January 2016 0

The Applicant, Constable A., was unsuccessful in seeking judicial review of the Respondent Law Enforcement Police Board’s decision regarding her dismissal.

Administrative law – Appeal Process – Compliance with legislation – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Judicial Review – Jurisdiction – Penalties and suspensions – Police – Police Review Board – Professional governance and discipline

Cst. A. v. Edmonton (City) Police Service, [2015] A.J. No. 1297, 2015 ABQB 697, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, November 30, 2015, D.A. Sulyma J.

The Applicant, Constable A., was dismissed from her employment after proceeding through the legislated process for police discipline in Alberta.

The Police Act sets out the roles of the Chief of Police, the presiding officer, the Law Enforcement Review Board (“LERB”) and the Court of Appeal. The Police Act allows for an officer to appeal decisions of the LERB to the Court of Appeal, with leave, regarding questions of law. In this case, Constable A. took issue with the LERB’s review of the reasonableness of the presiding officer’s penalty decision.

The Applicant applied for judicial review of her dismissal to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. The Applicant argued that there is a role for this Court in spite of the existence of the statutory appeal process set out in the Police Act. All counsel in this matter agreed that the absence of a statutory provision relating to the role of the Court of Queen’s Bench did not preclude a role for judicial review. The Court reviewed other cases wherein the Alberta courts made findings relevant to this issue of residual discretion for judicial review.

The Court held that the issue was whether the legislation allowed for the Court of Queen’s Bench to review factual issues and issues of mixed law and fact. The Court held that the legislation occupies the whole field of rights regarding the discipline process of an individual peace officer, which culminates in a direct appeal to the Court of Appeal. The Court held it had no jurisdiction to review the decision of the LERB. In the alternative, the Court declined to exercise its discretion in the circumstances of the case.

The Applicant’s application for judicial review was dismissed.

This case was digested by Scott J. Marcinkow of Harper Grey LLP. If you would like to discuss this case further, please feel free to contact him directly at or review his biography at .

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