ABCA stands up for settlement privilege

On January 21st, the Court of Appeal of Alberta refused to make an exception to settlement privilege to allow a party to answer a limitation period defence. In seeming to answer the deciding master’s comment that settlement privilege is not as “robust” a form of privilege as others, the Court said, “for the rule to operate properly, not only must the ambit of the settlement privilege be broad, but the exceptions to the exclusionary rule must be narrowly construed and only be given effect where another policy objective can be shown to outweigh any impact that may arise to the settlement objective.” It held that settlement privilege should not normally give way to allow a party to answer a limitations defence and held there was nothing about the circumstances to justify making an exception.

Bellatrix Exploration Ltd v Penn West Petroleum Ltd, 2013 ABCA 10 (CanLII).


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