BCS Group – Federal Court of Appeal finds that a corporation must be represented by counsel in General Procedure appeals

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. Gauthier JA essentially agreed, stating (at paras. 6, 33):

[T]he legislator did not intend to oust the common law and civil law principle that a corporation, because of its very nature, cannot appear “in person” before a court. It can only be represented by an agent who is a distinct person than the corporation. … By adopting detailed provisions dealing with representation in the Act, the legislator limited the TCC’s implied power to control who may represent the corporation in their courtroom, especially in proceedings subject to the General Procedure. …

[T]he common law/civil law concept that a corporation cannot appear in person because of its very nature strongly suggest[s] that under section 17.1 [of the TCCA], a party who is a corporation must be represented by counsel as defined by subsection 17.1(2).

Neal Armstrong. Summaries of Canada v. BCS Group Business Services Inc., 2020 FCA 205 under Tax Court of Canada Act, s. 17.1(1) and Rule 30(2).