Ottawa – On Friday, September 21, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada will deliver its decision in Canada (Attorney General) v. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society (SWUAV), et al. This case involves a constitutional challenge to laws criminalizing sex work. A trial was originally set for February 2009, but the BC Supreme Court determined that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the claim; in particular, SWUAV was denied public interest standing on the basis that there may be individuals who are more directly impacted by the anti-prostitution laws than SWUAV, an organization, and that it should be those individuals bringing the lawsuit, not SWUAV. Accordingly, the Supreme Court of Canada will consider how the test for public interest standing should be applied. The BCCLA is an intervener in the case.
The BCCLA argued that a restrictive reading of the public interest standing test will seriously impact the ability of the BCCLA and other public interest organizations to remedy constitutional wrongs through litigation. Rather, the current test for granting public interest standing should be expanded to bring Canada in line with other jurisdictions and to promote access to justice.
The BCCLA is represented by Jason Gratl of Gratl Purtzki and Megan Vis-Dunbar.
What: Supreme Court of Canada to release judgment in Canada (Attorney General) v. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society (SWUAV), et al.
When: BCCLA representatives will be available for comment after the judgment on Friday, September 21. (The reasons will be issued at 6:45 am PST/ 9:45 am PST)
Where: Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario)
Who: Counsel for the BCCLA, Jason Gratl, and BCCLA Litigation Director (Acting), Carmen Cheung, will be available for comment