The Presumption Against Interference with Vested Rights: Creating Structure out of the Confusion
AbstractCanadian courts interpret statutes flexibly, as they remain unbridled by strict interpretive rules or principles. Consequently, ambiguity in statutory interpretation has emerged, particularly regarding the temporal application of statutory amendments. In this article, the author suggests that clearer rules should be established to remedy such uncertainty, focusing predominantly on clarifying the presumption against interference with vested rights. The article first proposes a step-by-step approach to the vested rights analysis, explaining how it operates and interacts with other temporal application presumptions. Next, the article traces the history and jurisprudence of the presumption against interference with vested rights, and attempts to resolve outstanding issues relating to the presumption. Finally, it applies this background to the proposed step-by-step approach, ultimately synthesizing the law and theory underpinning the discussed presumptions.
Author(s) retain original copyright in the substantive content of the titled work, subject to the following rights that are granted indefinitely:
- Author(s) grant the Alberta Law Review permission to produce, publish, disseminate, and distribute the titled work in electronic format to online database services, including, but not limited to: LexisNexis, QuickLaw, HeinOnline, and EBSCO;
- Author(s) grant the Alberta Law Review permission to post the titled work on the Alberta Law Review website and/or related websites.
- Author(s) agree that the titled work may be used for educational or instructional purposes and/or in educational or instructional materials. The author(s) acknowledge that the titled work is subject to other such "fair dealing" provisions and applicable legislation.
- Author(s) grant a limited license to those accessing the titled work from an electronic database or an Alberta Law Review website to download the titled work onto their computer and to print a copy for their own personal, non-commercial use, subject to proper attribution.
To use the journal's content elsewhere, permission must be obtained from the author(s) and the Alberta Law Review.