Category: Appeal Watch

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Prosecuting Crime at Home Secures Respect for Human Rights

The Government of Canada is acutely aware of the cost of litigation. Those costs, along with the policy and legal implications of litigation, are now the subject matter of a new Cabinet Committee on Litigation Management, chaired by Minister Dominic LeBlanc. This committee will advise federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who recently suggested in a speech to the Canadian Bar Association that the Government of Canada would be reconsidering its “litigation position” in several cases so as to ensure that its overall legal strategy comports with Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We support this goal, with the Government’s predecessor...

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Appeal Watch: SCC to Hear Appeal of Lawyer’s Contempt in Sabourin & Sun Group v Laiken

On March 20, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to consider the Ontario Court of Appeal’s judgment in Sabourin & Sun Group v Laiken, 2013 ONCA 530. In addition to determining the law in Canada on civil contempt, the SCC’s decision will have significant ramifications on how lawyers across the country handle trust funds and Mareva injunctions in the future. Canada’s highest court has considered the issue of civil contempt twice before, both times in relation to criminal contempt: United Nurses of Alberta v Alberta (Attorney General), [1992] 1 SCR 901, and Pro Swing v ELTA Golf, [2006] 2 SCR...

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Appeal Watch: Bhasin v Hrynew Submissions Before the SCC

On February 12, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal from the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision in Bhasin v Hrynew, 2013 ABCA 98. My previous analysis of the ruling can be found here on The Court. Lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendants made their oral submissions before Chief Justice McLachlin, along with Justices LeBel, Abella, Rothstein, Cromwell, Karakatsanis, and Wagner. A video webcast of the Supreme Court’s back-and-forth session with counsel can be found here.

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Appeal Watch: Religiosity in Government to be Deliberated by SCC in MLQ v City of Saguenay

Over the past couple of decades, there have been calls to remove God from Canada’s national anthem, ban the wearing of religious symbols by public servants in Quebec, and abolish the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (Freitag v Penetanguishene (Town) (1999), 47 OR (3d) 301 [Freitag]) during town council meetings in Ontario. The Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodation in Quebec recommended that municipal councils abandon the practice of reciting prayers in their town halls. However, municipal politicians in Ontario and Quebec continue to commence their meetings with a “non-denominational” prayer, modeled after the prayer which begins each sitting of the House of Commons....

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Poking the Bear? SCC Leaves Prostitution in Hands of Parliament, Striking Down Harmful Laws in Bedford

To end its 2013 sessions, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) released its judgment in Canada (Attorney General) v Bedford, [2013] 3 SCR 1101 [Bedford], effectively striking down all of the current laws restricting to autonomous prostitution. I released a preliminary post summarizing the legal basis for the judgment shortly after the decision was released, here. Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice McLachlin held that the ss. 210(1) (keeping or being in a bawdy-house), 212(1)(j) (living on the avails of prostitution), and 213(1)(c) (communicating for the purpose of prostitution) provisions of the Criminal Code, RSC, 1985, c C-46 [Criminal Code] were all...

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BULLETIN: SCC Releases Landmark Decision in Canada v Bedford, Strikes Down Prostitution Laws

In a surprising turn of events, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released its judgment in Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72 [Bedford] as its final case before the holiday break, effectively striking down all of the current laws pertaining to autonomous prostitution. Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice McLachlin held that the ss. 210(1) (keeping or being in a bawdy-house), 212(1)(j) (living on the avails of prostitution), and 213(1)(c) (communicating for the purpose of prostitution) provisions of the Criminal Code were all in violation of s. 7 Charter rights and could not be saved under s....

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Conservatives Twist Trudeau’s Tweet: Guns, Rights, Judges, and Mandatory Minimums

Further to my bulletin posted here, on November 12, 2013, the Court of Appeal for Ontario (ONCA) has struck down the three-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession of prohibited or restricted firearm (with ammunition either loaded or easily accessible; s. 95 of the Criminal Code) in a series of six decisions. The unanimous decisions come nine months after oral arguments were heard by a five-judge panel. The political backlash was immediate, and it seems that the issue of mandatory minimum sentences may be a factor in the next Canadian federal election. Not surprisingly, the cases reflect the constant struggle between...

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BULLETIN: Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Firearms Possession are Unconstitutional, Says ONCA

In a series of six landmark decisions on November 12th, 2013, the Court of Appeal for Ontario (ONCA) struck down the mandatory minimum sentences for possession of prohibited or restricted firearm (with ammunition either loaded or easily accessible; s. 95 of the Criminal Code). The decisions can be found as follows: R v Nur, 2013 ONCA 677; R v Smickle, 2013 ONCA 678; R v Rocheleau, 2013 ONCA 679; R v Chambers, 2013 ONCA 680; R v Charles, 2013 ONCA 681; and R v Meszaros, 2013 ONCA 682. The unanimous decisions come nine months after oral arguments were heard by...

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The Curious Case of Darwin the Ikea Monkey

On December 9, 2012, social media was ablaze with reports of a small monkey in a winter coat and diaper, wandering around an Ikea parking lot, apparently looking for its owners. The “Ikea Monkey”, as the animal was later dubbed, entered the furniture store and was subsequently picked up by Toronto Animal Services. Darwin the Ikea Monkey quickly became the subject of international attention in the days that followed. The sprawling saga about how the Japanese macaque ended up inside a North York Ikea that winter day, and the legal battle over who rightfully owned Darwin, culminated in an Ontario...

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BULLETIN: B.C. Court of Appeal’s decision in Carter v. Canada to be released today

On June 15, 2012, Justice Smith of the British Columbia Supreme Court effectively created an exception to the Criminal Code to allow for physician-assisted suicide. The trial judgement Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) was discussed briefly in a previous post on The Court. Justice Smith gave Parliament a year to amend the laws surrounding assisted suicide, and the Government of Canada appealed the decision within that year. The appeal was heard by the B.C. Court of Appeal from March 18 to March 22, 2013. Today, the Court of Appeal will be releasing its decision to the public. Lawyers for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and two of...