Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

On one Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, SupremeAdvocacyLett@r, to which you may subscribe.


Aboriginal Law: Harvesting Rights; Taking-Up Power
Grassy Narrows First Nation v. Ontario (Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48
Ontario has the authority to take up lands in the Keewatin area so as to limit the harvesting rights set out in Treaty 3. By virtue of ss. 109, 92A, and 92(5) of the Constitution Act, 1867, Ontario alone has the ability to take up treaty land and regulate it in accordance with the treaty and its obligations under s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Civil Procedure in Québec: ‘No Reasonable Chance of Success’ Dismissal
Canada (Attorney General) v. Confédération des syndicats nationaux, 2014 SCC 49
Although the proper administration of justice requires that courts’ resources not be expended on actions bound to fail, the cardinal principle of access to justice requires the power be used sparingly, where it is clear that an action has no reasonable chance of success.

Contracts: Arbitrations
Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp., 2014 SCC 53
The historical approach that contractual interpretation of a written contract is always a question of law should be abandoned. Contractual interpretation involves issues of mixed fact and law as principles of contractual interpretation are applied to the words of the written contract, considered in light of the factual matrix. Reasonableness, not correctness, is the appropriate standard for a review of the arbitrator’s decision on contractual interpretation in this case. The arbitrator’s decision (Leon Getz, Q.C.) was reasonable here, the B.C.C.A. being overturned (“with costs throughout”), and the arbitrator’s award reinstated.

Criminal Law: Dangerous v. Long-Term Offender Designations
R. v. Sipos, 2014 SCC 47
The S.C.C. took a somewhat narrower view of the role of fresh evidence in relation to the question of whether the sentencing judge’s legal error was harmless, and held the C.A. was correct to uphold the dangerous offender designation in this case.

Criminal Law: Hospital Right to Counsel
R. v. Taylor, 2014 SCC 50
The duty to inform a detained person of his or her right to counsel arises immediately upon arrest or detention, and the duty to facilitate access to a lawyer, in turn, arises immediately upon the request. The burden is on the Crown to show that a given delay was reasonable in the circumstances and whether a delay in facilitating access to counsel is reasonable is a factual inquiry. “An individual who enters a hospital to receive medical treatment is not in a Charter-free zone.”

Criminal Law: Mr. Big Confessions
R. v. Hart, 2014 SCC 52
The law as it stands today provides insufficient protection to accused persons who confess during Mr. Big operations, which raise three distinct concerns: reliability, prejudice, and the potential for police misconduct. Trial judges must have the tools they need to address these issues.

Criminal Law: Sexual Offences; Disclosure
R. v. Quesnelle, 2014 SCC 46
The “Mills regime” applies to police occurrence reports not directly related to charges against the accused. While the regime exempts investigatory and prosecutorial records, that exemption applies only to records made in relation to the particular offence in question.

Employment Law in Québec: Indeterminate Terms
Quebec (Commission des normes du travail) v. Asphalte Desjardins inc., 2014 SCC 51
Can an employer who receives a notice of termination from an employee terminate a contract of employment before the notice period expires without in turn having to give notice of termination or pay an indemnity in lieu of such notice – the S.C.C. says no.

Leaves To Appeal

Class Actions: Limitation Periods
Green v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce2014 ONCA 90
What is the limitation period for a statutory claim and a class action claim.

Class Actions: Limitation Periods
IMAX Corporation, et al. v. Marvin Neil Silver et al., 2014 ONCA 90
As above.

Class Actions: Limitation Periods
Celestica Inc. et al. v. Trustees of the Millwright Regional Council of Ontario Pension Trust Fund et al.2014 ONCA 90
As above.

Constitutional Law: Bilingual Statutes
R. v. Pierre Boutet et al., 2014 ABCA 71
What Alberta statutes, if any, are required to be in French.

Criminal Law: Failing to Provide Breath Sample
R. v. Goleski, 2014 BCCA 80
When can one refuse to provide a breath sample.

Military Law: National Defence Act/Criminal Code ‘nexus’
R. v. Moriarity; R. v. Hannah, 2014 CMAC 1
Is there a ‘nexus’ between the above two statutes.

Military Law: National Defence Act/Criminal Code ‘nexus
R. v. Private Alexandra Vezina, 2014 CMAC 3
As above.

Refugees: Inadmissibility
B010 v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 FCA 87
Can a “people smuggler” be deported.


Comments are closed.