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. Ribeiro v Wright, 2020 ONSC 1829 (CanLII)

19 Most of our social, government and employment institutions are struggling to cope with COVID-19. That includes our court system. Despite extremely limited resources, we will always prioritize cases involving children. But parents and lawyers should be mindful of the practical limitations we are facing.

20 If a parent has a concern that COVID-19 creates an urgent issue in relation to a parenting arrangement, they may initiate an emergency motion – but they should not presume that the existence of the COVID-19 crisis will automatically result in a suspension of in-person parenting time. They should not even presume that raising COVID-19 considerations will necessarily result in an urgent hearing.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. R. v. J.S., 2020 ONSC 1710 (CanLII)

[18] In my view, the greatly elevated risk posed to detained inmates from the coronavirus, as compared to being at home on house arrest is a factor that must be considered in assessing the tertiary ground.

[19] I want to be clear that I am not suggesting any failure of the correctional authorities to take appropriate steps to attempt to keep inmates healthy, and to attempt to limit the spread of the virus. But I take notice of the fact, based on current events around the world, and in this province, that the risks to health from this virus in a confined space with many people, like a jail, are significantly greater than if a defendant is able to self-isolate at home. The virus is clearly easily transmitted, absent strong social distancing or self-isolation, and it is clearly deadly to a significant number of people who it infects. The practical reality is that the ability to practice social distancing and self-isolation is limited, if not impossible, in an institution where inmates do not have single cells. I note that this factor concerns not only Mr. S.’s own health, but also the preservation of scarce hospital resources to treat patients. If more people are infected, those resources will be more strained.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. R. v. Nelson, 2020 ONSC 1728 (CanLII)

[39] I am more than satisfied that the prevailing health crisis required this court to consider whether Mr. Nelson should be released from custody into house arrest. As I said to counsel during our conference call, the real issue is where the court should draw the line. At one extreme we simply keep everyone who is already locked up pending their trial locked up. At the other extreme we release everyone for fear their continued incarceration would be little different from being a passenger on a cruise ship, albeit a cruise ship behind bars. Neither extreme, in my view, is appropriate. Confidence in the administration of justice would rapidly be lost if either extreme was considered appropriate.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Desjardins Assurances générales inc. c. Malo, 2020 QCCA 462 (CanLII)

[36] Or, l’ordonnance de type Mareva n’est pas purement personnelle aux appelantes puisqu’elle affecte non seulement les intimés nommément visés, mais aussi tout acquéreur éventuel ayant connaissance de l’ordonnance, et donc par ricochet les biens des intimés qui sont par son effet « gelés ». Un des attributs du droit de propriété des intimés, l’abusus, soit le droit de disposer librement du bien, leur est alors temporairement retiré, ce qui n’est pas le cas lorsque la restriction au droit de disposer découlerait d’une promesse de vente en leur faveur, ou d’un pacte de préférence dont elles seraient les bénéficiaires (art. 1397 C.c.Q.), lesquels droits ne peuvent être invoqués que par celui qui en est le bénéficiaire et uniquement à l’encontre de celui qui en est le débiteur, donc entre les seules parties et non à l’encontre des tiers.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

* 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.

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