Holiday Gifts From the Supreme Court of Canada

It’s December so Christmas, Hannukah and other holidays are right around the corner. For law professors, law students, judges and court staff this is a relief. And the same is certainly true for most lawyers. However, for lawyers that have cases on reserve at the Supreme Court of Canada, the last two weeks of December can be a nerve-wrecking time.

In the last few years, the Supremes have saved some of their biggest cases as a pre-Christmas holiday gifts for all of us SCC-watchers. In 2009, they gave us Grant v Torstar, 2009 SCC 61. The next year, they upped the ante and on three days before Christmas they released the Reference re Assisted Human Reproduction Act, 2010 SCC 61. Last year, the Supremes spoiled Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty’s Christmas by releasing the Securities Regulator Reference, 2011 SCC 66 on the Thursday before the Christmas long weekend. That could not have been a happy time at the federal Department of Finance.

This year, the Supremes may be saving some of their big cases for release just in time for Christmas: maybe Whatcott, the case involving the hate speech provisions of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code which was heard in October 2011? Or perhaps, N.S., the Niqab case, heard last December, nearly 12 months ago.

Will the Supremes put candy or coal in the stockings of some lawyers this Christmas? We will have to wait and see. . .


  1. What about the Quebec case nicknamed “Eric v Lola” about the support obligation for the ex-life partner (who are not married or civil spouses), which was heard by the Court in January? Is it expected to come out soon?