Valour Legal Action Centre
Who is leading this effort?
Valour Legal Action Centre is a nonprofit organization run by a Board of Directors who decide which cases to take on. Catherine Christensen is the main lawyer. The team is made up of regular and non-regular volunteers and aims to democratize the law by arming our members with the right to choose the legal battles our military and constitutional team wage against suppression.
How many Class Action suits has Catherine had in her experience, and what were the results?
I have successfully pursued legal cases against CAF before (many settled before trial) but not as a class action. I have, however, recruited mentors who are experienced lawyers who advise me on the process and steps as well as brainstorm the legal questions and evidence needed. I also have years of litigation experience on my feet in a court room, including the Court of Appeal.
I’ve never been in any legal situation, how does a lawsuit work?
Your claim is researched by a lawyer for facts and applicable law (both legislation from government as well as “Judge made” law called case law from previous cases);
If the claim has merit in the opinion of the lawyer, then further information is gathered;
If temporary relief is needed, then application is made to the Court for that relief;
A claim is formally made to the Court with a Statement of Claim which lays out what the claim is and the grounds for it;
The claim is then served on the opposing party and they get an opportunity to file a Defence and Counterclaim which is served on your lawyer;
You then get to file a Defence to any Counterclaim;
From there, the lawsuit proceeds to any other temporary issues to be dealt with;
Each party produces Affidavits which are sworn evidence to support their claim;
Experts are found to provide any expert evidence;
Each side produces an Affidavit of Records to show what evidence they have to support their side;
Questioning is arranged for all parties to be asked questions under oath on any aspect of the lawsuit;
Any documents etc that are asked for at Questioning are provided and there may be more Questioning on those;
Once all those steps happen, a trial is booked and trial prep begins;
If an error made in fact and/or law then an Appeal;
Possibly another Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada
And during this whole thing… the parties can settle or one party can withdraw their claim.
What does the “open court” principle refer to?
The open court principle requires that court proceedings presumptively be open and accessible to the public and to the media. The virtues of openness were discussed by the Supreme Court of Canada in A.G. Nova Scotia v. MacIntyre which quoted eighteenth-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham:
In the darkness of secrecy, sinister interest and evil in every shape have full swing. Only in proportion as publicity has place can any of the checks applicable to judicial injustice operate. Where there is no publicity there is no justice. Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial.
As noted by the Supreme Court of Canada in Vancouver Sun (Re), the open court principle enhances the public’s confidence in the justice system: Public access to the courts guarantees the integrity of judicial processes by demonstrating “that justice is administered in a non-arbitrary manner, according to the rule of law”.
Openness is necessary to maintain the independence and impartiality of courts. It is integral to public confidence in the justice system and the public’s understanding of the administration of justice. Moreover, openness is a principal component of the legitimacy of the judicial process and why the parties and the public at large abide by the decisions of courts.
The open court principle is linked to the freedom of expression and freedom of the press which include the right of the public to receive information. The press plays a vital role as the conduit through which the public receives information regarding the operation of public institutions.
Can I file a grievance while signed up to this lawsuit?
Absolutely; it’s important to use the system that’s there. When/if it is denied CAF members always have the right to sue in civilian court. Please see this link for more on help with grievances.
Can I take part in another lawsuit if I am already signed onto a lawsuit of a similar nature simultaneously?
Consult with the lawyer you already have to ask this question.
Will I get punished if I take part in this (or any other) lawsuit?
CAF members are entitled to exercise their legal rights; there is a QR&O that mentions that one should advise chain of command to disclose this information. (FYI a class action lawsuit can take 4 – 6 years to finalize.) Something to keep in mind is that if you also decide to grieve the same situation you can’t participate in double recovery; you benefit either from the result of the grievance process (FYI often takes 2 – 4 years to finalize) or the lawsuit.
Should I tell my Chain of Command about my participation in a lawsuit?
You can mention that you have retained a lawyer for legal advice if you would like to or if it comes up in conversation. What is shared between a lawyer and client is confidential so don’t share any of the details.
What if the fee is too much for me to pay at the moment to be part of this lawsuit?
Valour Legal Action Centre is a non-profit which funds class action lawsuits through crowdfunding and donations so that nobody gets left behind. If you are unable to afford the donation, all we ask is that you pay what you can, when you can and then spread the word to have more people join or even just donate to the cause. You can offer your time and volunteer with the many tasks we will have throughout this endeavor.
Can I talk to the media about my situation and/or my involvement in a lawsuit?
As a CAF member, you have signed to terms that prohibit you from legally speaking to the media about your relationship with CAF. As a lawyer, outside the CoC, Catherine can be your voice to the media.
Am I ok to speak publicly about my involvement in a lawsuit?
Yes! Please forward the info along to anyone you think it might be relevant for.
Is it appropriate or possible in the CAF environment to serve my chain of command with a Notice of Liability?
Notice of Liability cannot be issued by a citizen. This is issued by a government agency or court. Do not fall for schemes out there saying you can do all kinds of things under “maritime law” or issue Writs etc. These groups are not recognized by our Court and being associated with them will only cause you grief you don’t need.
Is there a way to sign a document I don’t want to sign (if it seems I have no other choice) without committing to it legally?
Include VC (Latin for vi coactus / by force) before signature and then UCC1-308 (legally signifies that you signed under duress AND that your signature pertains only to that specific document and to be used to bind a secret or unknown agreement). You can also let the officer present put “member refused to sign” on it. Note: even without any of this, when it can be shown you did it under duress, your signature is worthless to enforce anything.
Am I allowed to record the conversations I have with my chain of command?
Yes. As long as you’re not in a secure environment in which you’re not allowed to have any recording devices on your person. In Canada, one is allowed to record a conversation between two parties as long as one (can be you!) is aware of the recording.
Mon to Fri - 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Sunday - Closed
Holidays - Closed
1 Tache Street, St. Albert, Alberta