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. R. v. Le, 2019 SCC 34 (CanLII)

[160] In view of our application of the three Grant lines of inquiry to the facts of this appeal, and with great respect to the courts below, we do not find this to be a close call. The police crossed a bright line when, without permission or reasonable grounds, they entered into a private backyard whose occupants were “just talking” and “doing nothing wrong”. The police requested identification, told one of the occupants to keep his hands visible and asked pointed questions about who they were, where they lived, and what they were doing in the backyard. This is precisely the sort of police conduct that the Charter was intended to abolish. Admission of the fruits of that conduct would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. This Court has long recognized that, as a general principle, the end does not justify the means (R. v. Mack, 1988 CanLII 24 (SCC), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 903, at p. 961). The evidence must be excluded.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Wastech Services Ltd. v. Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District, 2021 SCC 7 (CanLII)

[1] This appeal raises the issue of whether a common law duty of good faith performance applies in a long-term contract for waste removal in the greater Vancouver region. More specifically, it bears on how principles of good faith might preclude what one scholar has called the “abuse of contractual discretionary powers” (J. D. McCamus, The Law of Contracts (3rd ed. 2020), at p. 938). In Bhasin v. Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71, [2014] 3 S.C.R. 494, at paras. 47 and 50, Cromwell J. observed that the exercise of contractual discretion is one circumstance in which courts have found a duty of good faith performance exists in a manner consonant with the “organizing principle” from which this and other good faith duties derive: “parties generally must perform their contractual duties honestly and reasonably and not capriciously or arbitrarily” (para. 63, see also McCamus, pp. 931-943). However, Bhasin does not explore the source or content of the specific duty to exercise discretion in good faith, which matters were not at issue in that appeal.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Caplan v. Atas, 2021 ONSC 670 (CanLII)

[4] Freedom of speech and the law of defamation have developed over centuries to balance the importance of preserving open public discourse, advancing the search for truth (which must allow for unpopular and even incorrect speech), protecting personal reputations, promoting free democratic debate, and enforcing personal responsibility for statements made about others. The value of freedom of speech, and the need for some limits on that freedom, have long been recognised as central to a vibrant and healthy democracy and, frankly, any decent society.

[5] The internet has cast that balance into disarray.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Commissaire à la déontologie policière c. Vig, 2018 QCCDP 43 (CanLII)

[99] Les jugements et les décisions concernant la portée de l’article 76 du Code de procédure pénale ne sont pas nombreux. Le Comité a consulté un jugement de la Cour supérieure remontant à l’année 1998. Il s’agit de l’affaire Villeneuve[9], dans laquelle le juge fait l’énoncé suivant quant à l’interprétation de l’article 76 du Code de procédure pénale :

« La simple lecture et selon la règle d’interprétation littérale, l’article 76 est clair et limpide. Ce n’est que lorsque le constat d’infraction est signifié et si les autres conditions sont respectées, que l’agent de la paix peut exiger un cautionnement. Il s’agit d’un pouvoir restreint et circonscrit par la loi. »

(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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