Foundation for Legal Research funds two Western Law projects

Professors Jason Neyers and Stephen Pitel have each received 2013 research grants from the Foundation for Legal Research.  The Foundation, created in 1957, aims to encourage legal writing that would be valuable to Canadian lawyers and judges in their practice of law and in the administration of justice.

Professor Neyers’ project is entitled “Boundaries of Public Nuisance”.  His thesis is that the English Court of Appeal was mistaken in Re Corby Group Litigation to have allowed claims for personal injury in the tort of public nuisance to go to trial.  This is because the tort of public nuisance is as much a proprietary tort as the tort of private nuisance and as such it does not directly protect claimants from personal injury.  The property interests protected by the tort of public nuisance are easements (to pass and re-pass on public roads and waterways) and profits à prendre (to fish in navigable waterways).

Professor Pitel’s project is entitled “The Impact of Club Resorts: How are Courts Applying the New Test for Taking Jurisdiction?”.  In April 2012 in Club Resorts Ltd v Van Breda the Supreme Court of Canada changed the common law on territorial jurisdiction in several respects.  The decision raises many important questions, and the answers – such as they are at this stage – will be primarily found in the stream of decisions of the lower courts over the past year.  The aim of the research is to review these decisions to identify patterns in the jurisprudence and analyze how the lower courts are applying the new principles.