In the first customs case to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in four decades, the high court has allowed the appeal of the Attorney General of Canada in a decision of the Federal Court of Appeal overturning a decision of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.
"This was the first time the SCC had considered a customs classification case in almost 40 years," says Jan Brongers, lead counsel for the appellant, "and the first time it had had a chance to look at customs classification law" since Canada signed on to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System in 1988.
The respondent in the case, Igloo Vikski Inc., imported hockey gloves. Igloo Vikski Inc. later requested refunds of duties paid, claiming the goods should be reclassified. The Canada Border Services Agency classified five models of sports gloves, designed for ice hockey goaltenders, as "gloves, mittens ands and mitts" under tariff item No. 62.16 of the Convention, rejecting the respondent's position that they be classified under tariff item No. 39.26 of the Customs Tariff as "articles of plastic." The CITT dismissed the appeal by Igloo Vikski, but the Federal Court of Appeal allowed it and referred the matter back for adjudication.