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Liability of Government Authorities & Officials

Liability of Government Authorities & Officials

Recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada have broadened the scope of liability of Government Authorities and Officials. The law now holds that Government Authorities and Officials may be responsible for damage caused if they do not give proper consideration to the circumstances before implementing a policy, or if their employees act negligently in carrying out operations under that policy. For example, if a city established a policy of inspecting fire hydrants on a regular basis, that policy cannot be changed if it is reasonably made. However, if the city officials fail to inspect fire hydrants according to the policy, and that failure to inspect results in injury, damage or loss, the city may be responsible.


Other kinds of government decisions which might attract legal liability include a failure to properly inspect dangerous road conditions; a negligent inspection of buildings under construction; blocked sewer systems; a failure to enforce bylaws; the issuance of permits contrary to bylaws; the breach of a duty imposed by statute; and a lack of addressing public safety in relation to wildlife, blood supply and air travel. These types of government officials who have been held liable include Ministers of Government, Building Inspectors, By-Law Enforcement Officers, and fire department officials. There are many other cases where the Government or an Official may be legally responsible for causing injury, property damage, or economic loss due to his failure to do something he should have done, or his failure to do it properly.


If you think you have suffered a physical injury due to negligent or willful acts of government authorities or officials, you may have the right to sue to recover your damages. A civil lawsuit can be commenced by a Braithwaite Boyle accident injury lawyer on your behalf and then be resolved either through negotiations or the awarding of the judgement by a trial court. Braithwaite Boyle has experience in cases involving the liability of government authorities; please contact your nearest Braithwaite Boyle office for a consultation.

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