Confusion Over Names

On the News Release site on the Supreme Court of Canada’s site,, i.e., for 20 March, 2008, there is a note that the application for leave to appeal in III Canada Acquisition Company, et al. v. Ernst & Young Inc. was dismissed. (I saw the case mentioned in Eugene Meehan’s weekly letter of that date and wanted to track it down.) The case is stated to be on appeal from the Ontario Court of Appeal.

It is, in fact, impossible to find the reasons for judgment of the Court of Appeal, using this style of cause, on either the Court’s own website (even when you know the date of the decision) or through CanLII—or, for that matter QL or WestLaw. The reasons for judgment can be found on CanLII by a search under Ivaco Inc., the insolvent corporation. The Court of Appeal’s reasons for judgment (from which the application was made), dismissing an application for leave to appeal to it, can be found under Re Ivaco Inc. (2007 ONCA 746). If all you have is “Ivaco”, you have to go through the 19 decisions made in the course of winding up the corporation.

To make matters worse, if you use the “Reflex Record” on the Court of Appeal’s page, you get, not the dismissal of application of the leave to appeal, but a reference to “a related decision”, Superintendent of Financial Services v. National Bank of Canada, Informal Committee of Noteholders and Ernst & Young Inc., in it’s [sic] capacity as Court-Appointed Monitor, Qit-Fer et Titane Inc. and Bank of Nova Scotia, 2007 CanLII 15978 (S.C.C.) where leave to appeal another decision was given!

The Reflex Record also discloses a decision, Ivaco Inc. v. III Canada Acquisition Co., 2005 CanLII 29656 (ON S.C.), which decision was appealed to the Court of Appeal and became 2007 ONCA 746, losing the respondent’s name in the process.

Am I alone in being frustrated by the lack of consistency in the naming of the cases or, to use the former term, the styles of cause? Does any one know how this confusion is created or have an idea how to deal with it?


  1. Alejandro Manevich


    My own coping mechanism, where I am trying to trace the progress of a case, has been to rely more on court file numbers and the docket entries. In the example you gave, you can enter the Supreme Court file number in the Supreme Court case information database to get the docket entries, which will give you the date of the CA decision and the file number. (They appear now to be adding the neutral citation as well.)

    How well this works depends on the jurisdiction and the amount of case history one is looking for. Some jurisdictions (e.g. Federal Court, Quebec) allow you to search the entire docket on-line, so one can easily identify any motion, order, direction, etc., whether or not it was reported. Ontario, to my never-ending frustration, has no docket information on-line: as far as I can tell the only way to get it is to go to the court and physically search through the file. If anyone from the Ministry of the Attorney General is reading this, and would care to explain why we are still stuck with 19th century access to public court records, I’m all ears.


  2. John, would it be right to think that this problem 1) occurs with bankruptcy cases and 2) is created by the Ontario Court of Appeal’s practices? (CanLII only republishes what comes to it from the courts.)

    Take a look at Slater Steel Inc (Re), 2008 ONCA 196 as published on the CA site:
    and with the same style of cause on CanLII:

    Now look at the style of cause of the decision appealed from:
    Morneau Sobeco Limited Partnership v. Aon Consulting Inc., 2007 CanLII 12711 (ON S.C.) found on CanLII:

    It would seem that some Court of Appeal policy has caused the name to change as the matter moves from one level of the superior court to another.