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British Columbia Solitary Confinement Class Action

Koskie Minsky LLP and McEwan Partners have commenced a class action against the Province of British Columbia alleging human rights violations relating to the over-use of solitary confinement in British Columbia prisons.

The Amended Notice of Civil Claim filed on February 1, 2019 alleges, among other things, that British Columbia’s overuse of solitary confinement is negligent and constitutes a number of breaches of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in placing prisoners in solitary confinement for prolonged periods.

On December 22, 2020, the Court certified the lawsuit as a class action. The class is composed of those persons who, between April 18, 2005 and December 22, 2020, were involuntarily subjected to either:

  1. “Prolonged Solitary Confinement” (being in Solitary confinement for at least fifteen consecutive days); or
  2. Solitary confinement when the person suffers from a mental illness (“Solitary Confinement of Mental Health Disordered Inmates”) in a B.C. correctional centre as defined in s. 1 of the Correction Act. S.B.C. 2004, c. 46.

Naveah North is the representative plaintiff. She was incarcerated at Prince George Regional Correction Centre, in Prince George, British Columbia from April 2014 to May 2018 and has been subjected to both Prolonged Solitary Confinement and Solitary Confinement of Mental Health Disordered Inmates during her incarceration.

For further information:

Phone:  604.283.8016

Email:  solitaryclassaction@mcewanpartners.com

Latest Developments

  • January 4, 2021
    On December 22, 2020, the Honourable Justice Smith certified this action to proceed as a class action. The class currently includes those who, between April 18, 2005 and the present, were involuntarily subjected to separate confinement and/or segregation at BC Correctional Centres, if either: their segregation was for at least 15 consecutive days, or if the defendant knew or ought to have known that they were suffering from a mental illness. The reasons for the Court’s decision are attached here.
  • August 21, 2020
    The certification hearing is scheduled to proceed starting on August 24, 2020.

News Release

Documents

Who are the Lawyers?

At McEwan Partners the team of lawyers working on this class action includes;

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a class action?

A class action is a lawsuit which provides a method for a large group of people with common claims to join together to advance one large claim. Class actions are a more efficient and cost-effective way for groups of people with common claims to gain access to the legal system and seek justice.

How do I know if I am a Class Member?

The certification order will always contain a description of who is a class member. We post the certification orders in our actions so that you can review them. You do not need to “sign up” to become involved in a class action. If you are included in the class description, you are automatically a class member who will be affected by the outcome of the class action unless you decide to “opt out”.

Can I opt out of a class action and pursue independent legal action?

Yes. When a class action is certified, class members are always given an opportunity to opt out of the action. A deadline is imposed for opting out. If you do not opt out by the given deadline, class members will be bound by the outcome of the class action, whether it is successful or unsuccessful. If you opt out, you will not receive any benefit if the action is successful.

Will there be any cost to class members for legal fees?

Typically, class actions are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that the class action lawyers will be paid only if the class action is successful at trial or settled. In that case, class counsel fees may be paid by the defendants or out of the settlement or judgment proceeds as approved by the court. In addition, the plaintiff may seek funding assistance from the Class Proceeding Fund which, if funding is granted, may provide funding for disbursements.

I still have questions

For more information please visit the website: https://bcsolitaryconfinementclassaction.ca/

Contacts

To contact counsel at McEwan Partners about this class action you may

Phone:  604.283.8016

or

Email:  solitaryclassaction@mcewanpartners.com

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Related Practice Areas

Class Actions
McEwan Partners LLP