5.34: Service of expert’s report
6.11: Evidence at application hearings

Case Summary

The Plaintiff, Prabjot Singh Wirring (“Mr. Wirring”) claimed that the portion of the oath allegiance to the sovereign violated his rights to religious freedom and equality guaranteed by the Charter. The Defendant, His Majesty the King in right of Alberta (“Alberta”), applied to strike or alternatively to summarily dismiss the claim. Mr. Wirring opposed Alberta’s Application and applied for Summary Judgment.

Mr. Wirring swore and filed an Affidavit, along with another Affidavit by Harjeet Grewal (“Grewal Affidavit”) in support. Alberta opposed the Grewal Affidavit stating that it included an unqualified expert opinion and did not comply with Rule 5.34. Mr. Wirring argued that Rule 6.11(1)(a) permits the filing of expert evidence. Both parties relied on a previous case, ANC Timber Ltd v Alberta (Minister of Agriculture and Forestry), 2019 ABQB 653, which established that opinion evidence is generally inadmissible but can be allowed for matters requiring specialized knowledge. The Court noted that expert evidence should be introduced as it would at Trial, with the expert's qualifications and scope of opinion clearly defined. Justice Johnston considered the fact that Dr. Grewal, the expert in question, had impressive qualifications and expertise in religious studies, particularly in Sikhism. Dr. Grewal's opinion provided necessary and relevant information to Mr. Wirring's case based on the tenets of his faith. The Court concluded that there were no concerns about Dr. Grewal's qualifications, and Alberta did not challenge the evidence or seek to cross-examine him. Therefore, admitting the Grewal Affidavit would have significant benefits with no corresponding harm, and therefore was considered admissible.

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