Who do I name in my Charter claim?

If you are starting a civil action, it is very important to name the correct parties. If you are making a Charter claim, at least one of the parties you will be naming should include a particular level of government (such as the Province of Alberta), a government actor (such as the R.C.M.P.), or a non-government agency that was carrying out a government function (such as a hospital).

Below there is a list of formats to follow when naming the different levels of government: 


List their full and proper municipal name. You can determine this by speaking with the municipal clerk's office, or by checking on-line:

  •  "The Regional Municipality of X"

  • "The City of Y"

  • "The Town of Z"

The Province of Alberta

  • "Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta"

  • You can also specify which specific Ministry is involved, but this is not necessary.

    • For example, if your complaint was with the Minister of Public Works, Supply and Services, your style of cause could name:  “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta, as represented by the Minister of Public Works, Supply & Services” or Alberta (Minister of Public Works, Supply & Services)


  • "Attorney General of Canada"

  • You can also specify which federal government agency is involved. For example, if you were suing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, your style of cause would read Canada (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

Police Services

  • City Police:

    • You would name the specific city’s police service. For example, Calgary (Police Service); Edmonton (Police Service); Blood Tribe (Police Service); Taber (Police Service)

    • Note: The RCMP also provides police service under separate contracts with 43 municipalities with populations over 5,000 throughout Alberta

  • Provincial Police:

    • The RCMP is Alberta’s Provincial Police Service. The style of cause for an action involving the RCMP is Canada (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police:

    • Canada (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

Mandatory Notice to the Federal and Provincial Governments

If you intend to launch a Charter challenge to a law enacted by the federal or provincial government, you must give 14-days written notice to the Attorney General of Canada, as well as the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta (see, s. 24 of the Judicature Act, RSA 2000, c J-2) In that written notice, you must specify:

  • what enactment or part of an enactment is in question; and

  • reasonable particulars of your proposed argument.

In a criminal case, if you are making a Charter claim that evidence ought to be excluded (s. 24) or an argument about aboriginal or treaty rights (s. 32), you must give 14-days written notice to the clerk of the Court and the prosecutor handling your case (see: s. 1 of the Constitutional Notice Regulation, Alta Reg 102/1999). This notice must specify:

  • the law in question,

  • the right or freedom alleged to be infringed or denied or the aboriginal or treaty right to be determined,

  • the day and place on which the application is to be argued,

  • the relief sought, and

  • the grounds to be argued, including a concise statement of the constitutional principles to be argued and a reference to any statutory provision or rule on which reliance will be placed.