14.46: Application to reconsider a previous decision
14.72: Binding precedents

Case Summary

In 2007, the Alberta Court of Appeal pronounced the Decision of Edmonton Police Association v Edmonton (City of), 2007 ABCA 147 (“Murdoch”). The issue before the Court in Murdoch was whether a dispute between the Edmonton Police Association and the City of Edmonton was a labour relations matter that should be dealt with by grievance under a collective agreement, or whether it was a matter of police discipline that should be dealt with under the Police Service Regulation, Alta Reg 356/1990. Eleven years later, the Applicant, the Chief of the Edmonton Police Service (the “Chief”), in an underlying Appeal of a Decision from the Law Enforcement Review Board (the “Underlying Decision”), applied to the Court of Appeal to reconsider its earlier precedent set in Murdoch.

Feehan J. A. noted that Rules 14.46 and 14.47 allow a panel of the Court to grant permission for a party to argue that a prior precedential Decision should be reconsidered. Citing the relevant jurisprudence, Justice Feehan noted that this power should be exercised cautiously and by applying a balanced analysis of the following factors: (a) age of the Decision; (b) whether the Decision has been relied upon so as to create settled expectations; (c) treatment of the issue by other Appeal Courts; (d) whether the Decision has an obvious, demonstrable flaw; and (e)  whether it was classified as “Reasons for Judgment Reserved” or a “Memorandum of Judgment”.

In balancing these factors, Justice Feehan found that while Murdoch was decided in 2007, the impact of the Decision was not made clear until the Underlying Decision in October of 2018. Given, among other things, that both Murdoch and the Underlying Decision were both Memoranda of Judgment and that these Decisions have not resulted in settled expectations, His Lordship granted the Chief’s Application to reconsider the Court of Appeal’s decision in Murdoch.

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