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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. Armstrong v. Royal Victoria Hospital, 2019 ONCA 963 (CanLII)

[87] In any case where standard of care is at issue, the court must determine what is reasonably required to be done (or avoided) by the defendant in order to meet the standard of care: Berger v. Willowdale A.M.C. (1983), 1983 CanLII 1820 (ON CA), 41 O.R. (2d) 89 (C.A.), at p. 95, citing Blyth v. The Company of Proprietors of the Birmingham Waterworks (1856), 156 E.R. 1047, at p. 1049. In a medical malpractice case, the court must determine what a reasonable physician would have done (or not done) in order to meet the standard of care: Kennedy v. Jackiewicz, 2004 CarswellOnt 4914 (Ont. C.A.), at para. 20, leave to appeal refused: 2005 CarswellOnt 1669 (S.C.C.). The degree of foreseeable risk affects the determination of the standard of care: McArdle Estate v. Cox, 2003 ABCA 106, 327 A.R. 129, at para. 27.

[88] Here, the question is whether the trial judge, in his determination and application of the standard of care, held Dr. Ward to a higher standard than what could reasonably be expected of a prudent and reasonable general surgeon performing a colectomy in the circumstances of this case.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27 (CanLII), [2016] 1 SCR 631

[1] Timely justice is one of the hallmarks of a free and democratic society. In the criminal law context, it takes on special significance. Section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms attests to this, in that it guarantees the right of accused persons “to be tried within a reasonable time”.

[2] Moreover, the Canadian public expects their criminal justice system to bring accused persons to trial expeditiously. As the months following a criminal charge become years, everyone suffers. Accused persons remain in a state of uncertainty, often in pre-trial detention. Victims and their families who, in many cases, have suffered tragic losses cannot move forward with their lives. And the public, whose interest is served by promptly bringing those charged with criminal offences to trial, is justifiably frustrated by watching years pass before a trial occurs.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. R. v. Sappleton, 2021 ONSC 430 (CanLII)

[61] However, statutory authority cannot be used as pretext to improperly interfere with Charter rights. Police power, whether conferred by statute or at common law, is abused when it is exercised in a manner that violates the Charter rights of an accused. R. v. Nolet, supra, at para. 39. As explained in R. v. Caslake, [1998] 1 SCR 51, 1998 CanLII 838 (SCC) at para. 27:

Naturally, the police cannot rely on the fact that, objectively, a legitimate purpose for the search existed when that is not the purpose for which they searched. The Charter requires that agents of the state act in accordance with the rule of law.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Canada (Ministre de la Citoyenneté et de l’Immigration) c. Vavilov, 2019 CSC 65 (CanLII)

[1] Le présent pourvoi et les pourvois connexes (voir Bell Canada c. Canada (Procureur général), 2019 CSC 66), donnent à la Cour l’occasion de se pencher de nouveau sur sa façon d’aborder le contrôle judiciaire des décisions administratives.

[2] Dans les présents motifs, nous traitons de deux aspects clés de la jurisprudence actuelle en droit administratif qu’il est nécessaire de réexaminer et de clarifier. D’abord, nous traçons la nouvelle voie à suivre pour déterminer la norme de contrôle applicable lorsqu’une cour de justice contrôle une décision administrative au fond. Ensuite, nous donnons des indications additionnelles aux cours de révision qui procèdent au contrôle selon la norme de la décision raisonnable. Le cadre d’analyse révisé est encore guidé par les principes en matière de contrôle judiciaire qu’a énoncés la Cour dans l’arrêt Dunsmuir c. Nouveau‑Brunswick, 2008 CSC 9, [2008] 1 R.C.S. 190 : le contrôle judiciaire a pour fonction de préserver la primauté du droit tout en donnant effet à la volonté du législateur. Nous insistons également sur la nécessité de développer et de renforcer une culture de la justification au sein du processus décisionnel administratif.

(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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