Canada’s online legal magazine.
Rogers OutRank
Canadian Bar Association

Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Pickton Judgment From BCCA

The conviction of Robert William Pickton was upheld today in a two-one split decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Here is the judgment from the court, subject to some redaction because of the publication bans.

In a second ruling yesterday, the court unanimously accepted the Crown’s appeal of a decision by Justice Williams to sever the 26 counts of first degree murder into six and twenty as well as errors of law in three rulings on evidence and errors in the jury charge. But the Crown acknowledged that a new trial on 26 first-degree murder charges . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Proliferation of the Citation of Unreported Judgments in Judicial Decisions

I was in an interesting discussion today with colleagues on whether there has been a proliferation of the citation of unreported judgments in judicial decisions in Canada and whether this was a good or bad thing.

The context is this: in the good old days of print case law reporters (e.g., Dominion Law Reports or Ontario Reports) when life was much simpler, qualified editors chose to publish only the significant or important decisions. As such, you knew that when lawyers and judges cited precedent to print case law reporters there was some semblance of authority or quality in the precedent. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Latest Word on Invasion of Privacy as a Tort in Canada: Macdonnell v. Halifax Herald Ltd.

Following an “emergency hearing held by telephone on [a] Friday night”, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia recently refused to grant an injunction restraining the Halifax Herald from publishing a story using a five hour digital recording of a conversation between Minister Raitt and her former press secretary, Jasmine MacDonnell. This ruling is the latest to comment on the state of the potential common law tort for invasion of privacy in Canada.

Ms. MacDonnell, not Minister Raitt, commenced an action against the Herald and its reporter, Mr. Mahar. The common law tort of invasion of privacy was included in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

A Study of U.S. Supreme Court Oral Dissents

Available as of today on SSRN, “Dissents from the Bench: A Compilation of Oral Dissents Issued by U.S. Supreme Court Justices“, by Jill Duffy and Elizabeth Lambert, identifies 117 instances where justices of the the United States Supreme Court issued oral dissenting judgments. Duffy is a research librarian at the Court and Lambert is a staff attorney at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The authors examined all decisions from 1969 to the present day. Curiously perhaps, oral dissents are not officially recorded as a matter of course, and some were only . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Gender and Judging

Slate ran a story yesterday on what research says about how gender — or sex — influences judging, “In a ‘Different’ Voice” by Deborah Rhode. This interest was sparked, of course, by the fuss over Judge Sotomayor’s remark in a speech eight years ago about how a “wise Latina woman” might judge. If the effort is to see whether a judge’s nature affects how that person would decide certain issues, it’s surely wasted effort: you don’t have to be of the “what the judge had for breakfast” school to know that judges are not fungible automatons. But drawing . . . [more]

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

More on Twitter in the Courtroom

Are you sick of us talking about Twitter yet? It seems the possibilities are only just starting to be explored. Lawyers Weekly reporter Luigi Benetton recently interviewed a few of us (including Michael Geist and Darryl Cruz of McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Toronto) for his article “Twitter in the courtroom: a fad, or here to stay?” (June 12, 2009 edition).

Some of the points discussed:

  • this area is evolving quickly
  • reporters “tweeting” from a trial is akin to reporters taking notes on behalf of the public
  • messages on Twitter (or “tweets”) may not adequately characterize the full shape
  • . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Link Rot in Court Decisions

There is an article available through SSRN that discusses link rot in court decisions by Tina Ching (Reference Librarian, Seattle Univ. Law Library) in The Next Generation of Legal Citations: A Survey of Internet Citations in the Opinions of the Washington Supreme Court and Washington Appellate Courts, 1999-2005 [SSRN], 9 J. App. Prac. & Process 387 (2007).

As more legal research is conducted online, it is reasonable to conclude that there will be a corresponding increase in citations to the Internet by judges in their opinions. With the widespread public use of the Internet to access information along with the

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Follow O’Brien Trial on Twitter

Yesterday the judge in the Mayor Larry O’Brien trial, Associate Chief Justice Douglas Cunningham, ruled that reporters may report live from the courtroom via their electronic devices. This is, I believe, the first time that such live blogging has been permitted in a Canadian trial. The ruling was made on a motion by the Ottawa Citizen. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the same journal is live tweeting the procedings.

Glen McGregor, a reporter for the Citizen, is tweeting the trial at http://www.twitter.com/obrientrial and already has a number of tweets up from a brief first day. If you could use some . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

CBA Calls for Repatriation of Omar Khadr (Again)

Following the April 24th Federal Court of Canada decision, the Canadian Bar Association have again urged the Prime Minister to repatriate Omar Khadr. This time, they have addressed the plea to the U.S. President as well. From the CBA’s April 24th press release:

The CBA, which earlier this year called for Mr. Khadr’s repatriation following President Obama’s order to close Guantanamo Bay, is urging the two governments to immediately expedite the return of Mr. Khadr to face judicial process here.

From the CBA’s letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama (PDF):

We work to promote

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Leaky Condo Class Action Case Dismissed by the SCC

Having a carpenter for a partner adds an interesting twist to my life. Rather than playing Scrabble or sipping Margaritas on beaches, when he and I take a vacation, it is often to work on the current building project. It also means I take special interest in construction that leads to the courts like McMillan v. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Eugene Meehan’s excellent publication Lang Michener Supreme Court of Canada L@wletter had this note today:

TORTS: GOVERNMENT AGENCY LIABILITY
The Applicants purchased a condominium unit in a condominium development in White Rock, British Columbia, constructed in 1994.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions