BC access decision quashed for improper consideration of expert evidence

On January 8th, the Supreme Court of British Columbia quashed an access decision because the Commissioner admitted opinion evidence, but did not consider it to be expert evidence.

The Court differed with the Commissioner in finding that the opinion was “necessary” to resolve an issue about whether the disclosure of sales data, by postal code, could reasonably be expected to cause economic harm to the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. The Commissioner held that the opinion was unnecessary because it went to the very question before her. The Court held that the opinion was necessary because it went to constituent facts such as whether the data had monetary value and could provide grey market competitors with a competitive advantage. Given the opinion met the criteria for admissibility, the Court held the Commissioner erred in law by failing to consider it as expert evidence. It said, “Opinion evidence is only admissible as expert evidence.”

British Columbia Lottery Corporation v Skelton, 2013 BCSC 12 (CanLII).

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