Problematic accepting expert’s opinion given with rigorous independence

Ontario civil | Evidence

OPINION EVIDENCE

Problematic accepting expert’s opinion given with rigorous independence

Ruling on admissibility of expert evidence. Property owner owned two new 12-unit residential buildings. Owner wished to allow up to seven students to occupy each unit. Municipality refused to issue occupancy permit allowing more than four occupants per unit. Owner commenced application for declaratory relief and for order requiring municipality to issue unconditional occupancy permit. Owner filed affidavit from planning expert who opined on characterization of buildings. Evidence inadmissible. Expert’s evidence had been unnecessary and would have been given little weight in any event. Expert had advised owner on project and had accompanied owner when meeting with municipal officials. Expert had acted as advocate in that position. Given expert’s prior role, it would have been problematic accepting that her opinion was being given with rigorous independence.
Balmoral Developments Hilda Inc. v. Orillia (City) (Oct. 24, 2012, Ont. S.C.J., Healey J., File No. CV-12-0310) 221 A.C.W.S. (3d) 744.

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