Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Grande National Leasing Inc. v Vaccarello, 2015 ONSC 5463

[36] The defendant in this case was not represented at trial. The plaintiff had the assistance of a paralegal. Although it can often be frustrating for a trial judge to deal with an unrepresented litigant, it is a reality every trial judge faces often, particularly in the Small Claims Court. Sometimes when a party is unrepresented, the trial judge may need to intervene more frequently than would be the case if both parties are represented by counsel. This is often necessary to explain the process to lay litigants and to clarify points of law and the relevance of evidence. Some leeway must be given to trial judges in managing their courtrooms efficiently and ensuring that trials proceed in an appropriate manner in accordance with the laws of evidence.[8] However, the trial judge is required to be impartial. Repeated interventions by the trial judge, particularly if done in a sarcastic or denigrating manner, can lead a reasonable party to perceive that judge to be biased against him. In the face of such interjections, the affected party may reasonably believe that he is not receiving a fair trial. In such cases, the appellate court may, in the interest of justice, order a new trial.[9]
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Deptuck v Valencia, 2015 ONSC 6028

[7] In the interim, the Defendant seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. Neither side can find him and the Statement of Claim still has not been served. In opposing the motion to reinstate, the Defendant’s insurer says delay has prejudiced them as there is no witness for discovery. However they do have a relatively contemporaneous written statement from the Defendant. The Defendant was convicted of a traffic infraction due to this accident.
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Ishaq v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 156

[49] Indeed, the intention that it be mandatory for people to remove face coverings is also evident in public statements about the new directive when it was introduced. The Minister at the time said during an interview with the CBC on December 12, 2011, that the Policy was adopted after one of his colleagues told him about a citizenship ceremony where four women had been wearing niqabs. The Minister stated in this interview that taking the citizenship oath “is a public act of testimony in front of your fellow citizens, it’s a legal requirement, and it’s ridiculous that you should be doing so with your face covered”; and also that: “[y]ou’re standing up in front of your fellow citizens making a solemn commitment to respect Canada’s laws, to be loyal to the country, and I just think it’s not possible to do that with your face covered.”
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Canada (Procureur général) c. Bedford, [2013] 3 RCS 1101, 2013 CSC 72

[1] La Juge en chef — Au Canada, offrir ses services sexuels contre de l’argent n’est pas un crime. Par contre, tenir une maison de débauche, vivre des produits de la prostitution d’autrui ou communiquer avec quelqu’un en public en vue d’un acte de prostitution constituent des actes criminels. On fait valoir que ces restrictions apportées à la prostitution compromettent la sécurité et la vie des prostituées et qu’elles sont de ce fait inconstitutionnelles.
[2] Les pourvois et le pourvoi incident ne visent pas à déterminer si la prostitution doit être légale ou non, mais bien si les dispositions adoptées par le législateur fédéral pour encadrer sa pratique résistent au contrôle constitutionnel. Je conclus qu’elles n’y résistent pas. Je suis donc d’avis de les invalider avec effet suspensif et de renvoyer la question au législateur afin qu’il redéfinisse les modalités de cet encadrement.
(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.

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