Canadian Class Action Database Created
The CBA launched the National Class Action Database, a repository for information and documents about new class actions across Canada. The database is located at www.cba.org/classactions.
This two-year pilot was initiated by the CBA Civil Litigation Section, following a recommendation by a Uniform Law Conference of Canada’s Working Group on Multi-jurisdictional Class Actions.
The database is an attempt to address challenges for the administration of justice and management of judicial resources that arise from multi-jurisdictional class actions. These include uncertainty for members of the public who may be presumptively included in more than one class action and subject to conflicting court judgments, uncertainty for counsel as to the size and composition of class membership in any particular class action, and uncertainty for the judiciary as to the class members bound by their decisions.
The database lists all class actions filed in Canada after Jan. 1, 2007 that are sent to the CBA by class action counsel. Once posted, a class action proceeding will remain on the database unless dismissed as a class action by the court.
Currently, there are three practice directions (from the British Columbia Supreme Court, la Cour Superieure du Quebec – Division de Montreal, and the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario – Toronto Judicial Region) requiring plaintiffs’ counsel to file their documents with the database. After March 2007, the CBA will be accepting pre-January 2007 class action documents.
Database users can browse class action proceedings, obtain useful information and download relevant documents. All class actions are listed annually in chronological order beginning with the most recent. The database also includes brief descriptors of the class action proceedings, namely, the jurisdiction, the filing date, style of cause, description of the class, subject-matter of the action, and status of the case. A search engine on the webpage allows users to identify quickly the existence of class action proceedings with overlapping class members or subject matter.