6.14: Appeal from master’s judgment or order
15.1: Definitions
15.2: New rules apply to existing proceedings

Case Summary

This was an Appeal from a Decision of Master Smart regarding the interpretation of an insurance policy covering an airplane. Browne J. confirmed that an Appeal from a Master’s Decision has “changed from being a hearing de novo under the Former Rules to a hearing ‘on the record of proceedings before the Master’ under the New Rules”. Pursuant to the transitional provisions, including Rule 15.1 and following, the Rules apply to an existing proceeding commenced but not concluded under the former Rules, if the new Rules impose a new test, new criteria, or additional ground for an Application. Browne J. noted that both the former Rules and new Rules are silent as to the standard of review applicable to Masters’ Decisions. However, the existing common law has established that the applicable standard of review is correctness. 2

Rule 6.14(3) allows for the admissibility of new evidence if it is “significant enough that it could have affected the Master’s decision”. Browne J. adopted the reasoning of Wilson J. in Heritage Station Inc v Professional Stucco Inc, 2011 ABQB 18, that Rule 6.14 incorporates the test for new evidence set out by the Supreme Court in R v Palmer, (1979) 50 CCC (2d) 193 (SCC), at p. 205:

(a)        The evidence should generally not be admitted if, by due diligence, it could have been adduced at trial;

(b)        The evidence must be relevant in the sense that it bears upon a decisive or potentially decisive issue in the trial;

(c)        The evidence must be credible in the sense that it is reasonably capable of belief; and

(d)        It must be such that if believed it could reasonably, when taken with the other evidence adduced at trial, be expected to have affected the result.

Browne J. reiterated the importance that the evidence be new, in keeping with the language of the new Rules and the Decision in Heritage Station.

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