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Restitution

SCC decision: January 11, 2007

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Research articles : 
Kingstreet Investments Ltd. v. New Brunswick (Department of Finance), 2007 SCC 1
Click here to link to the full judgment.
(Ultra vires tax / unjustified enrichment / restitution)
Night club owners challenged the validity of a provincial tax that they had been paying on liquor purchased from the provincial liquor corporation’s retail stores. The tax was held to be an unconstitutional indirect tax. The night club owners sought recovery of the taxes they had paid over the years prior to their challenge to the legislation. The Court held that constitutional principles, rather than unjust enrichment principles, should be applied to determine the remedy for the ultra vires tax, and that the passing?on defence is generally inapplicable in the context of ultra vires taxes. The night club owners were entitled to restitution for the payments made within the previous six years i.e. the applicable limitation period.
Majority/Concurring: 9/0
 
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