A Question, Mr. Justice

As all the world (nearby) likely knows by now, Mr. Justice Rothstein will attend at a meeting of an ad hoc committee made up of members of Parliament in order to answer their questions concerning… exactly what, we’re not yet sure. This will happen on Monday afternoon, February 27.

Here’s the deal: What question would you like the committee to pose to its guest?

Slawyers, write in over the weekend — via comments — with that all-important question, and we’ll do what we can on Monday morning to make them available to, well, all the world. Remember, only one question.

A question to be going on with…

Q. Mr. Justice, Prime Minister Harper has said that a judge should “apply the law rather than make it” and should do that “in a way that uses common sense and discretion, without being inventive”; describe, please, how it is possible to resolve the disputes that come to the Supreme Court without invention or making law.

A. —

We know you can do better.


  1. Mr. Justice, the issue of public disaffection towards democracy is also affecting how people understand, relate to and even trust the Judiciary. What is the one single improvement the Judiciary could implement in order to increase public trust of the judicial decision making process?

  2. Mr. Justice Rothstein, any case which reaches your court has cost the litigants a huge amount of money. Is justice in the Supreme Court inaccessible to most Canadians? Does this concern the court?

  3. Mr. Justice, you have agreed with this unusual Supreme Court nominee selection process enough to take part in it. Would this procedure be suitable for future nominations, or is there an improved procedure which you would recommend to the Prime Minister?

  4. I want to second Connie’s question.

  5. Mr. Justice Rothstein: if elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada, would you commit the court to making PDF versions of the entire run of Supreme Court Reports available for free on the court’s website since it would only take a few weeks and not much money for this to happen?

  6. Mr. Justice Rothstein: During the last federal election, former Prime Minister Martin surprised us all during the leadership debates by promising to abolish federal use of the Not-Withstanding Clause. Do you see a role for this clause or would you like to see it use abolished federally and/or provincially?

  7. Mr. Justice Rothstein: What role do you think the Supreme Court should play in the establishment of basic human rights in Canada? If the Government of the day does not have popular support within its party to support certain rights and freedoms, can the people of Canada expect any protection from Court? (And yes, you can read Abortion and Same Sex Marriage into this question).

  8. Mr. Justice Rothstein: The Court has just refused leave to appeal the Ont. CA’s decision in Bangoura. What do you consider to be an appropriate method of dealing with the cross-jurisdictional issues raised by internet defamation suits?

  9. Mr. Justice Rothstein, in your decision in Oncomouse, you wrote that the social implications regarding the patenting of higher life forms was a policy issue for Parliament, and not one for the Court. To what extent, if any, should public policy be taken into account while adjudicating cases before the Supreme Court of Canada?

  10. (I would like to slightly reverse Steven Matthews question, and apply the opposite bias)
    Mr. Justice Rothstein: Where controversial issues are deemed by segments of the public to have a moral component, what role do you believe the Supreme Court should have in applying and interpreting the law to deal with such cases?

  11. Mr. Justice Rothstein, what do you see as the liability of Sony under Canadian law in the recent Sony RootKit controversy?

  12. Mr. Justice Rothstein, with ADR, JDR, tribunals and settlements removing legal issues from the docket, have you ever felt that Canadian law is sheltered from developing as it needs to?

  13. Mr Justice:

    Where some cases have come before the supreme court, it was found in the past that not enough legislation or precident was established to reach a decision.
    Do you feel the SC should create legislation by its decisions, or leave the legislating to Parliament?