This case was heard in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
The Juurlinks owned farmland in a watershed area in Hants County, Nova Scotia that was subject to certain regulations under Nova Scotia’s Water Act. When the Juurlinks listed their property for sale in 2000, the Municipality of East Hants raised concerns about it being used for agricultural purposes in the future. The Juurlinks claimed that the Municipality's concerns had adversely affected their property value and their ability to sell the land, and they requested that the Court appoint an arbitrator to consider their claim for injurious affection.
Previously, the provincial Water Act had provided for the appointment of arbitrators in such circumstances; however, Nova Scotia’s Environment Act had repealed the relevant provision of the Water Act and barred claims for injurious affection resulting from “a designation of a protected water area.” The Court therefore had to determine whether the relevant provision in the Environment Act applied retroactively, extinguishing a legal right that the Juurlinks had previously held.
After considering the relevant law and legal principles, the Court held that the Environment Act could not be applied retroactively to extinguish the Juurlinks’ established legal right, and so it appointed an arbitrator to consider their claim for injurious affection.