Specific Claims Resolution Act (S.C. 2003, c. 23)

Assented to 2003-11-07

Remuneration

Marginal note:Full-time adjudicators
  •  (1) Full-time adjudicators shall devote the whole of their time to the performance of the duties of their office and shall be paid the remuneration that is fixed by the Governor in Council. They are entitled to be paid reasonable travel and living expenses incurred by them in the course of carrying out their duties under this Act while absent from their ordinary place of work, but the payment may not exceed the maximum limits for those expenses authorized by the Treasury Board for employees of the Government of Canada.

  • Marginal note:Part-time adjudicators

    (2) Part-time adjudicators shall be paid the remuneration that is fixed by the Governor in Council. They are entitled to be paid reasonable travel and living expenses incurred by them in the course of carrying out their duties under this Act while absent from their ordinary place of residence, but the payment may not exceed the maximum limits for those expenses authorized by the Treasury Board for employees of the Government of Canada.

  • Marginal note:Conflicting responsibilities and activities prohibited

    (3) Adjudicators shall not accept or hold any office or employment or carry on any activity inconsistent with their duties and functions as adjudicator.

  • Marginal note:Compensation

    (4) Adjudicators are deemed to be employed in the public service of Canada for the purposes of the Government Employees Compensation Act and any regulations made under section 9 of the Aeronautics Act.

Management

Marginal note:Chief Adjudicator
  •  (1) The Chief Adjudicator is responsible for the management of the business and affairs of the Tribunal, including the following responsibilities:

    • (a) to strike panels to conduct hearings and decide issues before the Tribunal;

    • (b) to lead the Tribunal in the exercise of its power to make rules under subsection 45(1); and

    • (c) to provide guidance and assistance to panels.

  • Marginal note:Absence or incapacity

    (2) In the event of the absence or incapacity of the Chief Adjudicator or if the office of Chief Adjudicator is vacant, the Vice-Chief Adjudicator has the powers and duties of the Chief Adjudicator.

Functions, Powers and Duties

Marginal note:Functions

 The Tribunal is responsible to hold hearings into and decide issues before it relating to specific claims.

Marginal note:Powers of the Tribunal
  •  (1) The Tribunal may make rules governing the proceedings, practice and procedures of panels, including rules governing

    • (a) giving of notice;

    • (b) presentation of the positions of the parties with respect to issues before the Tribunal and of matters of fact or law on which the parties rely in support of their positions;

    • (c) summoning of witnesses;

    • (d) production and service of documents;

    • (e) discovery proceedings;

    • (f) taking and preservation of evidence before the start of a hearing;

    • (g) pre-hearing conferences;

    • (h) introduction of evidence;

    • (i) imposition of time limits; and

    • (j) costs, which rules shall accord with the rules of the Federal Court, with any modifications that may be required.

  • Marginal note:Publication of rules

    (2) The Tribunal shall make its rules available to the public and, if possible, publish them in the First Nations Gazette or a similar publication.

Marginal note:Powers of a panel

 A panel of the Tribunal may

  • (a) determine any questions of law or fact in relation to any matter within its jurisdiction under this Act;

  • (b) order that specific claims be heard together or consecutively if they have issues of law or fact in common;

  • (c) order that specific claims be decided together if decisions of the claims could be irreconcilable or if they are subject to one claim limit under subsection 56(2);

  • (d) delay or suspend a hearing or delay its decision of an issue

    • (i) to await any court decision that the panel reasonably expects will assist it in its hearing or decision,

    • (ii) to allow the parties to make further efforts to resolve an issue,

    • (iii) to permit further preparations by a party, or

    • (iv) for any other reason that the panel considers appropriate;

  • (e) in the same manner and to the same extent as a superior court of record, summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents and things that the panel considers necessary to a full hearing and consideration of the matter before it;

  • (f) receive and accept any evidence, including oral history, and other information, whether on oath or by affidavit or otherwise, that it sees fit, whether or not that evidence or information is or would be admissible in a court of law, unless it would be inadmissible in a court by reason of any privilege under the law of evidence;

  • (g) in applying the Tribunal’s rules of practice and procedure, take into consideration cultural diversity;

  • (h) lengthen or shorten any time limit established by the Tribunal’s rules of practice and procedure; and

  • (i) award costs in accordance with the Tribunal’s rules of practice and procedure.

Panels, Hearings and Decisions

Marginal note:Applications

 On application by a party to a specific claim, the Tribunal may, at any time, determine

  • (a) in relation to a specific claim that is before the Commission, to summon witnesses or to order production of documents;

  • (b) whether the claim and any other specific claim should be heard together or consecutively, or decided together; or

  • (c) any other issue that needs to be resolved for a dispute resolution process in relation to the specific claim to proceed, if all other parties consent.

Marginal note:Panel for interlocutory issue

 On an application to determine an interlocutory issue, the Chief Adjudicator shall strike a panel of one adjudicator who must be a member in good standing of the bar of a province or the Chambre des notaires du Québec, or of three adjudicators, at least one of whom must be such a member, to decide the issue. If a panel of three adjudicators has been struck, the Chief Adjudicator shall designate one of them to chair the panel, but the Chief Adjudicator shall chair the panel if he or she is a member of it.

Marginal note:Hearing and decision

 A panel shall, after providing notice to the parties, hold a hearing, at the time and place that the panel considers most appropriate, into the interlocutory issue in respect of which the panel was struck, and make a decision on it.

Marginal note:Application to strike

 On application by a party to a specific claim, the Tribunal may, at any time in whole or in part, order that the claim be struck out, with or without leave to amend, on the ground that it

  • (a) is, on its face, not admissible under section 26;

  • (b) has not been filed by a first nation;

  • (c) is frivolous, vexatious or premature; or

  • (d) may not, under section 74, be continued.

Marginal note:Decision of issue

 On application by a party to a specific claim, the Tribunal may, at any time, decide

  • (a) whether the claim is, together with any other specific claim, subject to one claim limit under subsection 56(2); or

  • (b) any other issue, if all other parties consent.

Marginal note:Panel for final decision

 On an application under section 50 or 51, or the referral to the Tribunal of an issue of validity or compensation, the Chief Adjudicator shall strike a panel of three or five adjudicators, at least one of whom must be a member in good standing of the bar of a province or the Chambre des notaires du Québec. The Chief Adjudicator shall designate one of them to chair the panel, but the Chief Adjudicator shall chair the panel if he or she is a member of it.

Marginal note:Hearing and decision

 A panel shall, after providing notice to the parties, hold a hearing, at the time and place that the panel considers most appropriate, into the issue in respect of which the panel was struck, and make a decision on it.

Marginal note:Limitation

 In deciding an issue of the validity of a specific claim, a panel shall not consider any rule or doctrine that would have the effect of limiting claims or prescribing rights against the Crown because of passage of time or delay.

Marginal note:Decision on extent of responsibility

 For greater certainty, a panel, in making a decision on the extent of responsibility of each respondent party to a specific claim, may determine that any respondent is, or all the respondents together are, not responsible or not wholly responsible for the claim.

Marginal note:Basis and limitations for decision on compensation
  •  (1) A panel, in making a decision on an issue of compensation for a specific claim,

    • (a) shall calculate the pecuniary losses in relation to the claim, to the prescribed maximum, or, if none is prescribed, to a maximum of ten million dollars, based on principles of compensation applied by courts;

    • (b) may not include any amount for

      • (i) punitive or exemplary damages, or

      • (ii) any harm or loss that is not pecuniary in nature; and

    • (c) shall award compensation against each respondent party proportional to the party’s responsibility for the losses calculated under paragraph (a).

  • Marginal note:One claim limit for related claims

    (2) Two or more specific claims shall, for the purposes of the application of the claim limit under paragraph (1)(a), be treated as one claim if they

    • (a) are made by the same claimant and are based on the same or substantially the same facts; or

    • (b) are made by different claimants, are based on the same or substantially the same facts and relate to the same assets.

  • Marginal note:Equitable apportionment

    (3) If claims are treated as one claim under paragraph (2)(b), the panel shall apportion equitably among the claimants the total amount awarded.

Marginal note:Unlawful disposition
  •  (1) If compensation is awarded under this Act for an unlawful disposition of all of the interests or rights of a claimant in or to land and the interests or rights have never been restored to the claimant, then, despite section 39 of the Indian Act, all the claimant’s interests in, and rights to, the land are extinguished, without prejudice to any right of the claimant to bring any proceeding related to that unlawful disposition against a province that is not a party to the specific claim.

  • Marginal note:Unlawful lease

    (2) Despite section 39 of the Indian Act, if compensation is awarded under this Act in relation to the unexpired period of a lease of land entered into by the Crown in contravention of the rights of the claimant, then, for the duration of that period, the persons who, if the lease had been lawful, would have had any interest in, or right to enjoy, the land are deemed to have that interest or right.

 
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