Update on PCVS Legal Challenge
April 27, 2012
We have some good news for PCVS supporters regarding our legal challenge to overturn the decision to close PCVS.
Our lawyers have been in discussion with lawyers for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. Both law firms have proposed that we skip the injunction motion and move directly to judicial review.
The Peterborough Needs PCVS Co-ordinating Committee, which now includes all affiants and applicants in the legal case, has agreed unanimously with this direction. This would mean that our case would be heard by three judges in a divisional court in Toronto in early June. At this hearing, our lawyers will request that the court render its decision as soon as possible, in the hopes that it will be issued before the end of the school year.
As many of you know, the legal case was originally to be a two-part process.
The first part would have our lawyers request an interlocutory injunction that, if successful, would prevent the Board from implementing its decision to close PCVS pending the outcome of the judicial review. An injunction is decided by one judge and requires that we establish, among other things, irreparable harm that outweighs any inconvenience to the Board.
Injunctions are very hard to get. An injunction does not address the merits of a decision (the decision to close PCVS).
Had we been successful in winning an injunction, we then would have proceeded to the judicial review phase, which is heard by the Divisional Court in front of three judges who have experience in the area of judicial reviews. Judicial reviews focus on procedural fairness and natural justice.
Should we be successful at this stage, the judges would, in the best case scenario, overturn the decision to close PCVS. This would revert the situation back to pre-2011 ARC and would likely elicit another closure review in Peterborough.
Why we support going directly to the judicial review phase:
- this is ultimately what we want and where we will need to go eventually.
- we do not wish to prolong the process unnecessarily and wish to expedite the legal case as quickly as possible in the best interests of students, staff and the community.
- eliminating the injunction phase saves money in legal costs and eliminates the first opportunity to be exposed to an award of costs should we lose our bid for an injunction.
- because both law firms agreed on moving directly to judicial review, this may limit our liability as it could reduce the likelihood of a large award of costs should we be unsuccessful.
- we will have the benefit of three senior and experienced judges hearing our case.
Finally, we always hoped for a judicial review where the decision could be overturned. We now have this opportunity.
A Model Campaign
The community of PCVS supporters has been extraordinary in its commitment, perseverance and unparalleled generosity. We would never be where we are now without your support. One faculty member at Trent suggested that our campaign should be studied as a model grassroots campaign and we have been repeatedly complimented for our measured, cohesive and reasoned approach. This is not a compliment to a few people but to a community of people.
We have placed every dollar raised for our legal challenge in a trust fund held by LLF. We have suspended further fundraising at this point as we believe we have the funds to finance the judicial review.
Please mark 10 June on your calendar. We’re having a celebration of PCVS at Market Hall. Details to follow.