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there are countervailing factors
that would render damages
inappropriate and unjust. The
final step is to assess the quantum of damages.
Recognizing that such dam-
ages are a new endeavour, the
court cautioned that a determin-
ation as to when they are appro-
priate “should develop incremen-
tally.” The court also left open for
future judicial development a
number of factors relevant to the
issue of awarding constitutional
damages, particularly where to
place limits on the remedy.
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ate damages award. The court
upheld the $5,000 award as
For the car seizure, the court
found that Ward did not suffer
any injury and, as a result, set
aside the $100 damages award.
Instead, the court substituted a
declaration that the vehicle
seizure violated Ward’s right to
be free from unreasonable
search and seizure under s. 8 of
The decision was important
because there was conflicting
Court of Appeal authority across
the country, according to Vancouver lawyer Brian Samuels,
who represented Ward. “It puts
some teeth in the Charter remedies clause,” added Samuels,
who asserted that the remedy of
“It puts some teeth in
the Charter remedies
the door for legitimate
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only a declaration is “a pretty hol-
low remedy.” However, given the
amount awarded in this case,
Samuels noted that it could still
make it unfeasible for most
people whose rights were vio-
lated to pursue a claim. Nonethe-
less, he added that it “opens the
door for legitimate claims being
pursued, including class actions.”
In a written statement, the Van-
couver Police Department (VPD)
said that it was pleased that the
ruling upheld the trial judge’s find-
ings that the police officers acted in
good faith when they arrested
Ward, and that no compensation
should be awarded for the tempor-
ary impounding of his car.
“We cannot speak to the
award Mr. Ward received for
being strip-searched at the jail,
since at the time the jail was
under the jurisdiction of the
Province,” said the statement.
“We can say that since control of
the jail has reverted to the VPD,
that we have a clearly defined
policy around strip-searches.
They are now only conducted in
the jail when there are reason-
able grounds to justify it.”
British Columbia Attorney
General Michael de Jong had not
commented publicly on the deci-
sion as of press time. ;
Reasons: Vancouver (City) v. Ward, 
S.C.J. No. 27.
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