The plaintiff, a member of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was expelled from the Congregation by a Judicial Committee after he engaged in behavior the congregation deemed sinful, and was perceived to be insufficiently repentant. The Plaintiff brought an Application for Judicial Review of the Congregation’s decision alleging that the decision was procedurally unfair and had affected his livelihood as a realtor as the majority of his clients were Jehovah’s Witnesses who stopped conducting business with the applicant after the expulsion. Both the Chamber Judges and the Court of Appeal determined that the Court of Queen’s Bench had jurisdiction to review the Congregation’s decision.
The Congregation appealed the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and quashed the application for judicial review on the grounds that judicial review is limited to public decision-makers exercising a state authority. Since the Congregation was not a public decision maker, it was not exercising a statutory authority, and the matter was outside the court’s jurisdiction. Additionally, the Court ruled that private parties cannot seek judicial review to solve disputes amongst themselves.