Fiduciary Accountability Transformed

Advocates' Quarterly, Vol. 35, p. 334, 2009

16 Pages Posted: 18 May 2009

Date Written: May 12, 2009


The Supreme Court of Canada has toyed with the boundaries of fiduciary accountability for three decades. Some of the criteria it has advanced to identify when fact-based accountability will arise (e.g. vulnerability, power differential, reasonable expectation) are vague notions that potentially derail the conventional function of the jurisdiction. Specifically, the criteria may be taken to support the view that fiduciary accountability regulates the merits or fairness of the actions of fiduciaries. In BCE Inc. v. 1976 Debentureholders, the court now appears to have explicitly adopted that view, albeit without recourse to any of the criteria it had previously identified. It also appears to have compromised the strict operation of the conventional regulation. The decision represents yet another novel turn, and a radical one, in the court's mercurial intercourse with fiduciary accountability.

Keywords: fiduciary duty, oppression, director, agency, strict liability, business judgment, loyalty, fairness

Suggested Citation

Flannigan, Robert, Fiduciary Accountability Transformed (May 12, 2009). Advocates' Quarterly, Vol. 35, p. 334, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Robert Flannigan (Contact Author)

University of Saskatchewan ( email )

15 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A6
306-966-5876 (Phone)
306-966-5900 (Fax)

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