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. Hannam v Medicine Hat School District No. 76, 2020 ABCA 343 (CanLII)

[194] In our opinion, a robust case management system is the protocol that has the greatest potential to generate resolutions at the earliest possible stage of the litigation spectrum and at the lowest possible cost.[262] We are familiar with other jurisdictions that have authorized courts to compel litigants to move through the litigation process at a stipulated rate and reaped the benefits associated with close control of the process.[263]

[195] A modern civil procedure model must offer a variety of dispute resolution options to its users and adjudicators.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Uber Technologies Inc. v. Heller2020 SCC 16 (CanLII)

[112] Access to civil justice is a precondition not only to a functioning democracy but also to a vibrant economy, in part because access to justice allows contracting parties to enforce their agreements. A contract that denies one party the right to enforce its terms undermines both the rule of law and commercial certainty. That such an agreement is contrary to public policy is not a manifestation of judicial idiosyncrasies, but rather an instance of the self‑evident proposition that there is no value in a contract that cannot be enforced. Thus, the harm to the public that would result from holding contracting parties to a bargain they cannot enforce is “substantially incontestable” (Millar Estate, at p. 7, quoting Fender, at p. 12). It really is this simple: unless everyone has reasonable access to the law and its processes where necessary to vindicate legal rights, we will live in a society where the strong and well‑resourced will always prevail over the weak. Or, as Frederick Wilmot‑Smith puts it, “[l]egal structures that make enforcement of the law practically impossible will leave weaker members of society open to exploitation at the hands of, for example, unscrupulous employers or spouses.” (Equal Justice: Fair Legal Systems in an Unfair World (2019), at pp. 1‑2).

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Bruno v. Dacosta, 2020 ONCA 602 (CanLII)

[18] Drilling down to the practical elements, in order to provide for a meaningful right of appeal, trial judges must identify the key issues; find the facts relevant to the issues; assess credibility and reliability where there is conflict; set out the chain of reasoning; make the decision; and then write the reasons to clearly communicate the decision: Welton v. United Lands Corp., 2020 ONCA 322, at paras. 57 and 58. Appellate courts rely on trial judges to find the facts and to assess credibility and reliability where there are live witnesses, as in this case. Appellate courts recognize that trial judges attend to these tasks from a privileged vantage point.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Giroux c. Del Negro, 2020 QCCS 3006 (CanLII)

[27] Avec égards, de tout cela une seule conclusion s’impose d’emblée : la conduite du juge d’instance constitue un manquement clair et sérieux aux règles de justice naturelle. Point besoin d’épiloguer longuement pour conclure que le fait de décider de procéder dans un dossier où le magistrat cite lui-même à comparaître deux avocates devant lui pour savoir s’il doit les condamner à payer des dépens pour leurs comportements dans un dossier qu’il préside, alors qu’il débute l’audition, entend la preuve d’une des deux parties, en l’occurrence celle d’Auclaire en l’absence de Giroux, et qu’il se sert ensuite de ce témoignage pour évaluer la conduite et la crédibilité de cette dernière, constitue un manquement à la règle audi alteram partem et à l’équité procédurale.

(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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