Case Summary: Reilly v Alberta, 2022 ABKB 612

  • April 11, 2023
  • Karine Bédard

The recent certification decision Reilly v. Alberta, 2022 ABQB 612, authored by Associate Chief Justice Rooke, offers guidance on the objection of individualism in systemic breach cases, pleading systemic negligence, and advancing claims in systemic negligence originating from statutory duties.


Crown bail is the focus of Reilly. The plaintiffs brought this class action in response to the Alberta’s alleged systemic failure to conduct bail hearings within 24 hours of an arrest, despite the timelines provided in s. 503 of the Criminal Code. Specifically, the plaintiffs advanced arguments in relation to sections 7, 9, 11(d), 11(e), 12 of the Charter and systemic negligence before the Court during this certification motion.


The objection of individualism

Justice Rooke rejected the “commonly repeated defence objection of individualism in all class proceedings.” Alberta argued that individual issues were present because who and what caused the delays would need to be determined on a case-by-case basis. The Court rejected this argument because the action was limited to “systemic considerations” which Alberta was responsible for and was only against Alberta as established by a previous ruling. The plaintiffs were not required to prove that there were no valid reasons for the delays; the fact of delay was actionable. Although the causes of delay might be relevant at a later stage in the proceedings, such as the individual issues stage, they were not relevant at the certification stage.