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Inadequate reasons not free-standing appeal ground: Canada.

Ecobase Enterprises Inc. v Mass Enterprise Inc. [2017] FICR 7

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has reiterated that the failure to give adequate reasons is not a free-standing ground of appeal: Ecobase Enterprises Inc. v Mass Enterprise Inc. [2017] FICR 7; 2017 BCCA 29 (CanLII).

A judge rejected promissory estoppel as a defence in one paragraph of his reasons, finding one of the elements to be missing. The Court of Appeal said that a trial judge is not required to refer to all of the evidence tendered by the parties.

Reasons are sufficient if they are responsive to the case’s live issues and the parties’ key arguments. Their sufficiency should be measured not in the abstract, but as they respond to the substance of what was in issue. The duty to give reasons “should be given a functional and purposeful interpretation” and the failure to live up to the duty does not provide “a free-standing right of appeal” or “in itself confer entitlement to appellate intervention”.

A decision should not be set aside if the record permits meaningful appellate review. Even where the logical connection between the evidence and the decision cannot be discerned (i.e., the reasons are objectively inadequate), appellate intervention will not be justified if the record itself permits meaningful appellate review.

Read the full head note here: [2017] FICR 7.