Summaries Sunday

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries concern:
Sovereign immunity / Expert evidence / Parental benefits under EI / Metis fishing rights / Questions by criminal jury / Insurance claim and limitations / Intervenors added on appeal / Equality and matrimonial property:

Steen et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran et al. 2013 ONCA 30
International Law – Sovereignty – Incidents of – Immunity – Exceptions – Proceedings relating to commercial activity of foreign state – Acta gestionis
Between 1982 and 1988, Iran directed the kidnapping and detention of 18 American citizens in Beirut, Lebanon, for the purpose of collecting a ransom. Steen and Jacobson were two of the individuals kidnapped. The appellants (Steen and his wife and Jacobsen’s children and sister) sued the respondents, Islamic Republic of Iran. . . .

New Brunswick (Minister of Social Development) v. N.S. et al. 2013 NBCA 8
Evidence – Opinion evidence – Expert evidence – General – Qualifications and declaration that a witness is an expert
An application judge dismissed the application by the Minister of Social Development for an order of guardianship of N.S.’s children. The Minister appealed. The New Brunswick Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. The application judge erred in law when he made the broad statement that psychologists could not give opinions respecting mental health. . . .

Martin v. Canada (Attorney General) 2013 FCA 15
Unemployment Insurance – Claims – Entitlement – Maternity, child care or parental benefits
The applicant’s spouse gave birth to twin girls. At issue was whether the applicant and his spouse were both entitled to 35 weeks of parental benefits under the Employment Insurance Act. The Canada Employment Insurance Commission denied the claim because his spouse’s 35 week parental benefits had already been approved and under the Employment Insurance Act multiple births were treated in the same manner as single births. . . .

L’Hirondelle v. Alberta (Minister of Sustainable Resource Development) 2013 ABCA 12
Indians, Inuit and Métis – Aboriginal rights – Evidence and proof
A fish and wildlife officer refused L’Hirondelle’s application for a Metis domestic fishing licence, on the basis that he had not provided the proof required under the Alberta Métis Harvesting Policy of the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development (Alberta). L’Hirondelle applied for judicial review.
The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, in a decision reported at 527 A.R. 350, dismissed the application. L’Hirondelle appealed. The Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

R. v. Ellis (M.) 2013 ONCA 9
Criminal Law – Procedure – Jury – The law – Questions by jury
At a criminal trial the jurors asked a question. The judge asked counsel for submissions. Before the judge had settled on her response, the jury indicated that they had reached a verdict. Without an inquiry as to whether the jury still required an answer to their question, the judge took the jury’s verdicts finding the accused guilty on all three counts. The accused appealed, arguing that the judge . . .

Dueck Chevrolet Cadillac Hummer Ltd. v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia 2012 BCCA 493
Insurance – Payment of insurance proceeds – Limitation of actions – When limitation period commences
Dueck Chevrolet Cadillac Hummer Ltd. (Dueck) commenced an action against Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (ICBC), claiming insurance coverage with respect to a motor vehicle that was destroyed by fire. Among other limitations, s. 17 of the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act, allowed for an action to be brought within one year after “the cause of action arose”. ICBC contended the date on which “the cause of . . .

Carter et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al. 2012 BCCA 502
Practice – Parties – Adding or substituting parties – Intervenors – On appeal
Canada appealed from the order of Justice Lynn Smith, which declared that the provisions of the Criminal Code that prohibited physician-assisted suicide unjustifiably infringed s. 7 and s. 15 of the Charter and were of no force and effect where the assistance was provided under a number of conditions. Applications for leave to intervene in the appeal were brought by the Alliance of People with Disabilities Who are . . .

A. v. B. 2013 SCC 5
Civil Rights – Equality and protection of the law – Matrimonial regimes and marital property legislation
The parties met in 1992 when A was 17 years old and B was 32 years old. They ultimately had three children, but never married because B did not believe in marriage. The parties separated in 2002, after living together for seven years. A filed a motion seeking custody of the children, support, a lump sum, use of the family residence, costs and an interim . . .

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