Committee for Justice and Liberty

Committee for Justice and Liberty et al. v. National Energy Board et al., [1978] 1 SCR 369, 1976 CanLII 2 (SCC)

• NEB conducted hearings into whether the certificate of convenience and necessity for the pipeline should be granted, but the Chairman of the Board had recently been employed as the director of an organization that was intimately connected to an earlier proposal to build this pipeline. He had quit that job to work for NEB less than 6 months before the hearings, and he assigned himself to be on 3 person panel hearing this.

• The test for reasonable apprehension of bias was set out by de Grandpré J., writing in dissent, in Committee for Justice and Liberty v. National Energy Board, 1976 CanLII 2 (SCC), [1978] 1 S.C.R. 369, at p. 394:

. . . the apprehension of bias must be a reasonable one, held by reasonable and right minded persons, applying themselves to the question and obtaining thereon the required information. . . [T]hat test is “what would an informed person, viewing the matter realistically and practically — and having thought the matter through — conclude. Would he think that it is more likely than not that [the decision-maker], whether consciously or unconsciously, would not decide fairly.”

• Double objectivity: a reasonable person’s reasonable perception (not from the perspective of the person affected)
• *See for an excellent review of new Ontario cases on reasonable apprehension of bias