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. R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27

[1] Timely justice is one of the hallmarks of a free and democratic society. In the criminal law context, it takes on special significance. Section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms attests to this, in that it guarantees the right of accused persons “to be tried within a reasonable time”.

[2] Moreover, the Canadian public expects their criminal justice system to bring accused persons to trial expeditiously. As the months following a criminal charge become years, everyone suffers. Accused persons remain in a state of uncertainty, often in pre-trial detention. Victims and their families who, in many cases, have suffered tragic losses cannot move forward with their lives. And the public, whose interest is served by promptly bringing those charged with criminal offences to trial, is justifiably frustrated by watching years pass before a trial occurs.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Woitas v Tremblay, 2018 ABQB 588

[11] Most often, vehicles leave adequate space before them and the next vehicle in front of them – then another vehicle “cuts in” and the traffic adjusts its flow. Here, everybody was reacting to the right lane backing up and were moving out of the right lane to move through the lanes. This had to be obvious to all the drivers proceeding through and should have alerted all drivers to use caution. Apparently, Ms. Tremblay and Mr. Dechant did and Ms. Bevans and Mr. Edmundson did not.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. v. Sherman Estate, 2018 ONSC 4706

[18] The respondents submit that the private lives of these two victims have already been exposed to public view in lurid detail, details that have put the family through the anguish of fending off unfounded accusations that what they firmly believed was a sinister, targeted double murder was actually a murder suicide. They submit that there is no public interest to be served by invading the privacy and dignity of the victims and their family still further simply to add more fuel to the publicity fire. The same Legislature that has mandated the personal details required to be included in estate applications has also granted to the courts the discretion to make confidentiality orders in appropriate circumstances. The respondents therefore submit that there is a valid and distinct privacy interest raised by the facts of this case that takes it out of the ordinary, run of the mill estate administration matter.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Denis c. Côté, 2018 QCCA 611

[25] Les oppositions à la divulgation d’informations permettant d’identifier une source journalistique suivent la même logique. Les oppositions sont tranchées par le tribunal, l’organisme ou la personne ayant pouvoir de contrainte et devant trancher l’affaire dans laquelle les renseignements peuvent être divulgués.

(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.


  1. One notable feature of the Sherman estate sealing decision is that the Toronto Star was represented by Kevin Donovan who isn’t a lawyer but the Star’s Chief Investigative Reporter.
    Kevin went up against a formidable team of Davies Ward trusts litigators, and won plaudits from the judge:

    ” I must take this opportunity to thank Mr. Donovan for the thoroughness of his materials and the skill of his presentation. Should he ever be minded to change professions, I am sure the Bar would be honoured to have him as a colleague!”

    Years ago, I worked with Kevin and Nick Pron – they both knew more about criminal law than all but specialists.