CITT'S Game Changing Decision in Bri- Chem

In September the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) released its decision in three concurrent cases referred to as the Bri-Chem trilogy. Through these decisions, the CITT has made it clear that the CITT's interpretations of the Customs Act are binding on the CBSA unless it can successfully appeal such interpretations to the Federal Court of Appeal or to the Supreme Court of Canada. Moving forward, the binding nature of the legal precedent will apply to the case before the CITT, but also to all cases considered by the CBSA unless distinguishable on the facts. Up until this point, it was the CBSA's erroneous belief that decisions by the CITT were specific to the appeals before it and those decisions did not bind the CBSA in disputes with other importers that raised the same questions of law and mixed law and fact. After the release of the Bri-Chem trilogy, the CBSA will be forced to change its previous approach and will have to appeal decisions of the CITT that it does not agree with, as opposed to simply ignoring their precedential value.

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