BCS Group – C Miller J disagrees with some of his colleagues in finding that a corporation can appear “in person” without counsel

In Masa Sushi, Graham J found that a corporation could not appear “in person” in a General Procedure matter and had to appear through counsel, so that a Rule purporting to permit a corporation to appear in person with the Court’s consent would be ultra vires. He considered that the concept of a corporation appearing “in person” was nonsensical, stating:

A human can be physically present in court. A corporation, being a creation of law with no physical substance, cannot.

C Miller J disagrees, stating:

Yes, there is common law jurisprudence to the effect that “in person” can only mean by the presence of a visible person … but there has been no such jurisprudence, until Masa Sushi, from the Tax Court of Canada.

…Surely we can give the drafters of the legislation and the drafters of the Rules credit for recognizing the uniqueness of the Court, unencumbered by the traditional common law findings of other Courts.

He went on to permit the corporate taxpayer to appear in person through its individual shareholder/director. He noted that this issue has been appealed in another case (Suchoki) to the Federal Court of Appeal.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of BCS Group Business Services Inc. v. The Queen, 2018 TCC 120 under Rule 30(2).