What is the standard of review for a Superintendent of Motor Vehicles decision in a bar case?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Lovse v British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles), 2019 BCSC 617 (CanLII):

When applying that standard in the context of cases such as the one at bar, "it is important to recognize the discrete and special administrative regime in which the Superintendent has a specialized expertise" as well as a "mandate to ensure the safety and well-being of the public on our highways": Paik v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles), 2008 BCSC 1332 at para. 5. Accordingly, their decisions are entitled to deference. A court will generally refrain from interfering with the Superintendent's decision if there is some evidence upon which their findings could reasonably be made.

Nonetheless, even where the ultimate decision they reach is capable of being supported by the record, the Superintendent's decision will be found to be unreasonable when their reasoning process is "manifestly flawed": Scott v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles), 2013 BCCA 554 at para. 31. Any such flaw in the reasoning must be obvious and fundamental: Kenyon v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles), 2015 BCCA 485 at para. 55. The reasons as a whole must be considered to determine whether the flaw is central to the conclusion. The fact that the Superintendent's reasoning is flawed in one respect does not necessarily lead to conclusion that the reasoning as a whole is unreasonable.

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