It’s the Time of the Year for Year End Lists

Well the wire services are reporting the top legal stories of 2005, as graded by the legal experts:
1. Katrina
2. Rehnquist-Roberts transition
3. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act

A touch insular, perhaps.

In the wider world, what were the top issues?

I’m tempted to list some of the huger mistakes that courts have made, ranging from the RIM saga [of which the New Yorker has a great piece today] and the collapse of the BCCI brought by Deloittes on behalf of BCCI investors against the Bank of England, which collapsed after 12 years.

I would have thought the Lords’ judgments in A (FC) and others (FC) (Appellants) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department but you have to read the case together with Lord Hoffmann’s stirring words in the judgment of the same name handed down in the week before Christmas last year.

Of the Supreme Court cases, I would have thought Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General), though it didn’t seem that momentous at the time.

Away from the Supremes, I’d nominate the Ontario Bangoura v. Washington Post appeal, which takes a pragmatic view of Internet jurisdiction issues.

And though he’s not sitting, I suspect that Judge Gomery might be regarded as newsworthy – la Commission d’enquête sur le programme de commandites et les activités publicitaires

And frankly, neither Parliament nor the legislatures seem to have done anything especially memorable.

So what am I missing?


  1. I would mention the McCain anti-torture amendment prohibiting the cruel and inhumane treatment of US-held detainees as a big story.

    For 2006, my predictions include the impeachment of George W. Bush. Already, Newsweek has used the word, as well as Findlaw in connection with admissions that the U.S. President authorized warrantless espionage targetting U.S. citizens. So the dreaded “I” word has been pronounced, not by politically marginal bloggers, but in the establishment media. Already, some members of Congress are asking for an official independent investigation.

    But Gomery definitely takes the cake. L’Actualité magazine in Quebec has chosen him as news personality of the year –


    Michel-Adrien “Library Boy” Sheppard