Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Trinity Western University v. British Columbia College of Teachers, 2001 SCC 31

[1] Iacobucci and Bastarache JJ.— Trinity Western University (“TWU”) is a private institution located in Langley, British Columbia and incorporated under the laws of British Columbia. It succeeded Trinity Western College in 1985; that junior college was itself the successor of a private society founded in 1962. TWU is associated with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada. It is an accredited member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. TWU confers six baccalaureate degrees and offers four masters programs. Donna Lindquist was a third year student at TWU who had planned to attend the Teacher Education Program at TWU in January of 1998.

[2] In 1985, TWU established a teacher training program offering baccalaureate degrees in education upon completion of a five-year course, four years of which were spent at TWU, the fifth year being under the aegis of Simon Fraser University. In 1987, TWU applied to B.C.’s Minister of Education for permission to assume full responsibility for the teacher education program. Although there appears to have been approval in principle in Cabinet, the Minister did not act on the request because of the creation in that year of the British Columbia College of Teachers (“BCCT”) which would become the appropriate body to consider the application. TWU applied to the BCCT in January of 1988, but the College was not ready to consider the application. The application was therefore withdrawn and presented again in January of 1995. One of the reasons for assuming complete responsibility for the program was the desire of TWU to have the full program reflect the Christian world view of TWU.

2. R. v. Anderson, 2014 BCPC 71

[1] The Accused David Sean Anderson is charged with theft of a motor vehicle (under section 333.1 of the Criminal Code), theft of the contents of that motor vehicle (under section 334 of the Criminal Code), and driving while prohibited (contrary to section 259 of the Criminal Code). These offences are alleged to have occurred on August 27, 2013 in Mission, B.C.

[2] It is not in issue that on August 27, 2013, a 2007 white GMC Yukon Denali SUV was stolen from the parking lot of the PetroCanada gas station at the corner of 7th Avenue and Cedar Street in Mission, BC. The owner had carelessly left the keys inside the vehicle when he went into the gas station to buy cigarettes. A video camera shows a male individual enter the vehicle when the owner was inside and drive off with it, it with the owner chasing after the vehicle. The vehicle was later found abandoned on a residential street in Mission, and property was witnessed being taken from the vehicle.

[3] The issue is whether or not the Accused was the person who stole the vehicle. The Crown alleges that the Accused was the thief, and in support of its assertion, it relies on video evidence that it says shows the Accused in the store just before the theft, and on the evidence of two eyewitnesses who say that it was the Accused who stole the vehicle. If the Accused was the thief, then he is also guilty of driving while prohibited because at the time he is alleged to have been driving off with the stolen vehicle, he was a prohibited driver.

[4] Counsel for the Accused argues that the Crown has failed to prove the identity of the Accused as the driver of the vehicle beyond a reasonable doubt.

 3. R. v. Jackson, 2013 ONCA 632

 [1] After a month-long trial for first-degree murder, Douglas Jackson was convicted of second degree murder by a judge sitting with a jury. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a 15-year period of parole eligibility.

[2] At trial, Mr. Jackson admitted that he shot the deceased, Derrick Campbell, but claimed that he acted in self-defence, had been provoked and that due to a combination of provocation, self-defence and extreme intoxication on crack cocaine, he lacked the requisite intent for murder.

[3] Mr. Jackson (the “appellant”) appeals his conviction and seeks leave to appeal his sentence.

[4]For the reasons that follow, I would dismiss the conviction appeal, and grant leave to appeal sentence but dismiss the sentence appeal.

The most-consulted French-language decision was Québec (Procureur général) c. A, 2013 CSC 5

[1] Dans les présents pourvois, les parties soulèvent le problème de la validité de l’exclusion des conjoints de fait, des droits alimentaires et patrimoniaux accordés aux conjoints mariés ou en union civile. Cette exclusion viole-t-elle la garantie d’égalité établie par l’art. 15 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés (« Charte »)?

[2] La Cour doit déterminer si les dispositions du Code civil du Québec, L.Q. 1991, ch. 64 (« C.c.Q. »), portant sur la résidence familiale (art. 401 et suiv.), le patrimoine familial (art. 414 et suiv.), la prestation compensatoire (art. 427 et suiv.), la société d’acquêts (art. 432 et suiv.) et l’obligation alimentaire entre conjoints (art. 585) portent atteinte au par. 15(1) de la Charte, parce que leur application est limitée aux rapports juridiques privés des conjoints mariés et des conjoints unis civilement (voir art. 521.6 et 521.8 C.c.Q.).

[3] La Cour doit ainsi décider si l’exclusion des conjoints de fait du champ d’application de ces dispositions est discriminatoire au sens du par. 15(1). Pour les motifs qui suivent, je suis d’avis que cette exclusion n’est pas discriminatoire au sens du par. 15(1) et ne porte donc pas atteinte à la garantie d’égalité prévue à l’art. 15 de la Charte.

* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.


  1. Not surprising that the TWU decision was well-read last week. It’s not at all clear that it was closely read by the LSUC benchers before they voted on the issue.

  2. David Collier-Brown

    Conversely, the strong split could suggest they were reading it with great interest.

    [To be fair, it’s a u-shaped curve: they could also be highly prejudging the issue]