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Knight v Indian Head School Division No 19

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Citations  [1990] 1 S.C.R. 653
Ruling court  Supreme Court of Canada
Majority  L'Heureux-Dubé J.
Knight v Indian Head School Division No 19
Full case name  The Board of Education of the Indian Head School Division No 19 of Saskatchewan v Ronald Gary Knight
People also search for  Baker v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Knight v Indian Head School Division No 19, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 653 is a leading decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on procedural fairness in Canadian administrative law. The Court created a threshold test to determine whether an administrative process invoked a common law duty of fairness based on the nature of the decision, relationship between the parties, and the effect on the individual claimant.



Ronald Gary Knight was dismissed as superintendent of a school board. His position was held at pleasure. His dismissal was not for personal reasons, but he claimed procedural fairness should apply and a hearing should have been held.

3 Prong Test

In order for procedural fairness to apply at common-law, certain requirements must be met. According to L'Heureux-Dubé J. they are:

1. Nature of the decision to be made by the administrative body:

(a) Administrative vs. Legislative use of power
  • Administrative powers attract procedural fairness while legislative powers do not
  • (b) Final decision maker
  • Preliminary or interlocutory decisions don’t invoke procedural fairness
  • 2. Relationship existing between that body and the individual; and

  • Exercise of power is pursuant to statute (or prerogative) (executive action)
  • 3. Effect of that decision on the individual's rights (privileges / interests)

  • Low threshold requiring only that applicant have an interest and that it be impacted
  • If all of these criteria are met then procedural fairness is triggered and the court will decide what procedures the applicant is due.


    Knight v Indian Head School Division No 19 Wikipedia

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