Appeals from the terms of a conditional discharge

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The discretion exercised by a registrar in setting the conditions of a conditional discharge from bankruptcy attracts a deferential approach in appeals to a judge and to the Court of Appeal.

In Perrier v. Canada (Revenue Agency), 2021 BCCA 269, the Court of Appeal considered the approach to reviewing the exercise of discretion of a registrar in setting the conditions of a conditional discharge order.

The Court held that it is not unable to correct errors in the exercise of discretion even when those errors are not attributable to palpable and overriding errors of fact or misinterpretations of law. Absent an error of fact or law, the Court can still allow an appeal from a discretionary decision if the discretion was not exercised in a principled and reasonable manner.

The condition imposed on the bankrupt by the registrar in Perrier was a payment of $150,000 in monthly installments of $1,000. The Court considered the condition unreasonable. The condition would take over 12 years to satisfy, at which time the appellant would have been in his retirement years, denying him the chance to make a fresh start. The Court replaced the condition with one that required a $45,000 payment over five years.

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