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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Personal Equality and Group Benefits

How can individuals be treated equally and yet have their characteristics merged for the purpose of spreading rights to payment over a large group? This question comes up in designing pension plans and insurance premiums. Two recent decisions seem to point in opposite directions.

The Supreme Court of Canada today released its decision in a case about pension benefits and survivor rights. Withler & Fitzsimonds and Attorney General of Canada. The Court upheld the lower courts in finding that reducing a supplementary death benefit to a surviving spouse according to the age of the pension plan member at death . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Finding English Translations of French Language Court Decisions in Canada

A frequent posting on the Canadian Association of Law Libraries listserv (CALL-L) is a request for an English translation of a Canadian court decision written in French, typically from a Quebec court.

Although the CALL-L Archives contains some of the information that follows, it does not contain all of this information. In addition, responses in the Archives are not accessible by non-subscribers and hence are not indexed by Internet search engines. As such, my goal with this post — with the help of any SLAW readers adding additional information or clarifications in the Comments section below — is to update . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Supreme Court of Canada – Statistics 2000-2010

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a Special Edition of its Bulletin of Proceedings containing a statistical overview of its activities for the period 2000-2010.

There are stats for cases filed, applications for leave submitted, appeals heard, judgments (including number of unanimous vs. split decisions), and average time lapses (time lines in the life of a case at the Court). . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

On the Importance of Judicial Independence

by Emir Aly Crowne*

This is a response to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s remarks at the University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law given on February 11, 2011. It is appropriate that the Minister’s initials are j/k, because had I not known better, I would have taken them to be a joke. But his remarks are from it. In fact — and quite ironically — his remarks strike at the very values that we, as Canadians, prize: freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Audrey Macklin and Lorne Waldman have already addressed some of these issues in their op-ed . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Reference Re Marriage Commissioners: Single-Entry System

In a previous blog post I discussed the recent Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decision on whether marriage commissioners—as civil servants—can opt out of performing same-sex marriages. The Court found that legislative amendments, which would have allowed Saskatchewan’s marriage commissioners to refuse to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds, were discriminatory and unconstitutional. A discussion from the post ensued, and John Gregory’s comments into how civil marriage ceremonies are provided in Ontario required me to delve deeper into the issue.

After some research, I found out that the following statement I made is not quite accurate:

Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Zipline Company Cleared Over Waiver

The British Columbia Supreme Court released Loychuk v. Cougar Mountain Adventures Ltd., 2011 BCSC 193 on Friday, clearing the Defendant zipline company located outside of Whistler Mountain from injuries sustained by the Plaintiffs on August 18, 2007.

One of the Plaintiffs was proceeding down the zipline, which places users in a harness that travels up to 100 km an hour, but did not reach the next platform. She was essentially stranded about 500 metres before the end of the run, which formed the basis for the Plaintiffs claiming a limited measure of control.

The second Plaintiff, who incidentally . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Chief Justice of Canada’s Remarks on Access to Justice

Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin spoke last week at the University of Toronto’s Access to Civil Justice for Middle Income Canadians Colloquium about how ordinary people risk being priced out of the justice system. In her speech, she called on governments, academics, judges and lawyers to work to ensure better access to justice for all Canadians.

Her speech and the colloquium attracted some media attention:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Long Form Census Cases

I came across R. v. Finley, 2011 SKPC 16 (CanLII) and it struck me as extemely interesting given the brouhaha over the long form census.

On January 13 , 2011 Whelan, J. of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan decided:

[1] Ms. Finley, the Defendant/Applicant, was charged pursuant to s. 31(b) of the Statistics Act for failing to complete and submit the 2006 Long Form Population Census. Section 31 imposes, upon conviction, maximum penalties of a fine, not exceeding five hundred dollars, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or both. She did not dispute the factual underpinnings of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

No Religious Right to Smoke Marijuana

This is a follow-up post to a previously published Slaw post on a case in which two members of the Church of the Universe claim that the Ontario’s marijuana prohibition violates the freedom of religion protections in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Members of the Church of the Universe believe that smoking marijuana brings followers closer to God and use the drug as a sacrament.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Email Evidence—Worth the Search?

Bruni v. Bruni, 2010 ONSC 6568 (CanLII), a recent decision of the Superior Court of Justice in a family matter, noted (literally, in a footnote (23)):

In recent years, the evidence in family trials typically includes reams of text messages between the parties, helpfully laying bare their true characters. Assessing credibility is not nearly as difficult as it was before the use of e-mails and text messages became prolific. Parties are not shy about splattering their spleens throughout cyberspace.

Is that your experience? Does a multiplicity of informal electronic communications help or hurt assessment of credibility? Is . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list