Registrar of Regulator Testifies as an Expert Witness

Courts give regulators deference. In some cases that deference is quite broad. An example of broad deference is found in Pomarenski v Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association Professional Conduct Committee, 2019 SKQB 264, http://canlii.ca/t/j2x9z. The case dealt with a veterinarian’s care for an injured dog. During the hearing the Registrar, who was also a veterinarian, testified about the standard of practice that should have been applied. Despite the absence of notice of the expert testimony, the Court deferred to the tribunal’s admission of the evidence both because the tribunal was not bound by the civil rules of evidence and because the tribunal would have had its own expertise to apply to the facts of the case.

The Court also held that there was no double jeopardy as the five headings of misconduct were simply particulars of one allegation of professional misconduct.

The Court did set aside the costs order for paying all of the regulator’s costs (totalling $42,000) because the hearing panel did not follow a fair procedure in hearing evidence and receiving submissions justifying the specific amount, because the amounted exceeded past precedents and because the panel did not give reasons explaining how it arrived at its conclusion. The issue of costs was returned for a fresh decision.

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