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Law Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice

Unjust by Design

Canada’s Administrative Justice System

by (author) Ron Ellis

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2013
Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, Federal, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2013
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2013
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Canadian legislatures regularly assign what are truly court functions to non-court, government tribunals. These executive branch “judicial” tribunals are surrogate courts and together comprise a little-known system of administrative justice that annually makes hundreds of thousands of contentious, life-altering judicial decisions concerning the everyday rights of both individuals and businesses. This book demonstrates that, except perhaps in Quebec, the administrative justice system is a justice system in name only. Failing to conform to rule-of-law principles or constitutional norms, its tribunals are neither independent nor impartial and are only providentially competent. Unjust by Design describes a justice system in transcendent need of major restructuring and provides a blueprint for change.

About the author


  • Commended, The Hill Times List of Top 100 Best Books for 2013
  • Short-listed, 2013/2014 Donner Prize, The Donner Foundation

Contributor Notes

Ron Ellis is an administrative law lawyer, teacher, academic, arbitrator, and former chair and CEO of a major administrative judicial tribunal. He has been teaching, speaking, and writing about administrative justice system issues for more than thirty years.

Editorial Reviews

The issues addressed in Unjust by Design are of critical, though largely unappreciated importance. Ron Ellis faced a significant challenge of persuasion: the tediousness of administrative law is dangerous because it can mask significant injustice ... But precisely because these are the workaday issues of our society, it is critical that they not be ignored and left subject to a decision-making system so bereft of basic elements consistent with the rule of law that their validity is rendered questionable.

Literary Review of Canada, June 2013

Other titles by Ron Ellis