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Class Action Pursued by PATH and Valent Legal: Holding Nova Scotia Government Accountable for Unlawful Lockdowns in Provincial Jails

KIJPUKTUK, NOVA SCOTIA (5 March 2024)


PATH and Valent Legal have filed a class action lawsuit against the Nova Scotia government concerning the unlawful use of lockdowns plaguing provincial jails. This class proceeding follows a landmark victory in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia (NSSC), where Justice Rosinski declared such lockdowns as illegal, marking a monumental triumph for prisoner rights.

 

The claim, which has been filed in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, contends that the provincial government’s use of lockdowns is a violation of prisoners’ Charter rights and amounts to negligence.

 

The class action aims to hold the government accountable for the ongoing injustices endured by prisoners due to lockdowns induced by staffing shortages.

 

Emma Arnold, staff lawyer at PATH, emphasized the importance of addressing the systemic neglect faced by prisoners, "Prisoners are among the most vulnerable in our society, and for too long, governmental priorities have overshadowed their rights within correctional facilities. This class action seeks to provide redress to those whose rights have been infringed due to the government's persistent use of lockdowns in provincial jails."

 

This legal action builds upon the precedent established by the cases of Diggs v Nova Scotia (Attorney General), 2024 NSSC 11, and Wilband v Nova Scotia (Attorney General), 2024 NSSC 12, both of which affirmed the unlawfulness of detainment during lockdowns. Despite these rulings, lockdowns persist in numerous provincial institutions.

 

This class action marks a significant step towards rectifying systemic violations of prisoner rights and sets a precedent for future cases involving collective rights infringements in correctional facilities.

 

BACKGROUND

More information, including PATH’s prior press release concerning the NSSC’s rulings in Diggs and Wilband and the full statement of claim is available online at: https://www.pathlegal.ca/class-actions/lockdowns

 

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For media inquiries or further information, please contact:


Emma Arnold, Staff Lawyer, PATH

(519) 870-0094

 

Hanna Garson, Staff Lawyer, PATH

(902) 802-8942

 

Mike Dull, Partner, Valent Legal

 

 

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