This week at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada’s three hearings this week are in civil cases, including a patent infringement case, a lawyer’s challenge to his Bar, and a Charter case concerning collective agreements.


November 8 – Federal – AstraZeneca Canada v. Apotex

Civil: The applicants owned a patent for esomeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor used in the reduction of gastric acid, reflux esophagitis and related conditions. It was sold under the name Nexium, and was a very successful product for AstraZeneca. The respondents applied to the Minister of Health to obtain a Notice of Compliance which would allow it to sell its generic version of the drug; AstraZeneca then brought a prohibition application under the Patented Medicines Regulations to prevent Apotex from entering the market until after the expiry of its patent. In 2010, that application was dismissed and Apotex commenced sales of its generic esomeprazole. AstraZeneca brought an action against Apotex for patent infringement, and Apotex counterclaimed to impeach the patent.

Read the Federal Court decision

November 9 – Manitoba – Green v. Law Society of Manitoba

Civil: Sidney Green, who was called to the Bar of Manitoba in 1955, did not comply with the Law Society of Manitoba’s requirement to complete a minimum of twelve hours of annual continuing professional development activities. Green challenged those rules under which the LSM had suspended his practicing certificate, arguing that The Legal Profession Act did not explicitly permit the LSM to enact mandatory CPD rules and to enforce those rules with the imposition of a suspension. He also argued that the rules violated the principles of natural justice because they gave the LSM authority to impose a suspension without a right of hearing or appeal.

Read the Manitoba appellate court decision

Read related news stories:

Manitoba lawyer vows to take CPD fight to top court, Canadian Lawyer

Can a lawyer be compelled to learn? CanLII connects

November 10 – British Columbia – British Columbia Teachers’ Federation v. R.

Charter of Rights: In 2002, British Columbia passed two statutes dealing with collective agreements for public sector workers in the field of education: the Education Flexibility and Choice Act and the Education Services Collective Agreement Amendment Act. In 2011, the Supreme Court of British Columbia found the legislation unconstitutional because it infringed s. 2 (d) of the Charter, and the infringement was not justified under s. 1 of the Charter. British Columbia then enacted a new statute, The Education Improvement Act, that included sections previously declared unconstitutional, and the BCTF challenged the new act’s constitutionality. The trial judge granted the BCTF declaratory relief plus $2 million in Charter damages; the Court of Appeal for British Columbia allowed the appeal but set aside the damages award.
Read the British Columbia appellate court decision

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