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Peeling Back the Court’s Decision in R v NS

On December 20th, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in R v NS, 2012 SCC 72 [NS]. As Kirk Makin stated in an article written for the Globe & Mail: “The key question for the judges was: Can religious ritual and observance trump the right of defendants to a fair trial? While the court […]

Supreme Court Clarifies the Law of Duress, Ends Nicole Ryan’s Tragic Ordeal

“This appeal raises a novel question,” Justices LeBel and Cromwell’s majority decision starts out: “[M]ay a wife, whose life is threatened by her abusive husband, rely on the defence of duress when she tries to have him murdered? While the lower courts took a more expansive view of the defence of duress—as being available to […]

BULLETIN: United States Supreme Court to rule on two gay marriage cases

The United States Supreme Court (USSC) announced today that it will hear two cases dealing with constitutional challenges to state and federal laws that undermine same-sex marriage. The first case, Hollingsworth v Perry, No. 12-144, concerns a constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, a controversial ballot proposition that amended California’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage […]

Appeal Watch: Court to Decide if National Security Certificates are Constitutional

Background Mohamed Harkat is a former gas station attendant, pizza delivery driver, and for the past decade, a suspected terrorist. Harkat was arrested on December 10, 2002 on a national security certificate alleging that he had ties with terrorists. Since 2006, Harkat has been required to wear an electronic tracking device, be in the presence […]

No Right to “Know One’s Past”: The BCCA in Pratten v British Columbia (Attorney General)

In a decision released on November 27, 2012, the British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) in Pratten v British Columbia, 2012 BCCA 480, reversed the British Columbia Supreme Court’s (“BCSC”) decision that provisions of the provincial Adoption Act, RSBC 1996, c 5 [Adoption Act] are unconstitutional as a result of their failure to take into […]

Hezbollah rocket attacks launch jurisdiction expansion in New York

It is safe to assume that New York tort law was not on the minds of the Hezbollah teams that launched rockets into Israel in the 2006 Lebanon War. However, the victims responded to these acts by taking Hezbollah’s bank to court in New York and launching a legal battle that has stretched the scope […]

BULLETIN: Rob Ford Found to be in Conflict of Interest, Ousted from Mayor’s Office

At 10:00 AM this morning, Justice Hackland’s released his reasons for decision in Magder v Ford, the much anticipated application to have Mayor Ford removed from officer pursuant to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. The application was brought by a municipal voter, Paul Magder, who was represented by the prominent Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby. 

Spencer v Riesberry: Ontario Court of Appeal Affirms the Nature of a Beneficiary’s Interest in a Trust and its Status Under the Family Law Act

The parties were married and lived in a home owned by the Spencer Family Realty Trust (“SFRT”), a discretionary trust of which Spencer was a beneficiary and trustee. When the couple separated it became necessary to determine the nature of Spencer’s interest in the home for purposes of the division of property under the Family Law […]

R v Nedelcu: The Right Against Self-Incrimination and the Return to the Unworkable Distinction

Protection against self-incrimination is one of the fundamental principles of the criminal justice system. You are probably familiar with the phrase, “pleading the fifth,” which refers to the Fifth Amendment in the American Constitution and provides testimonial immunity for an accused individual. There is no equivalent to the Fifth Amendment in Canada; however, a witness […]

Are Municipalities Subject to the Duty to Consult? The BCCA in Neskonlith Indian Band v Salmon Arm (City)

In Haida Nation v British Columbia (Minister of Forests), [2004] 3 SCR 511 [Haida], the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) set out the framework for the duty to consult, holding that this duty arises “whenever the Crown has knowledge, real or constructive, of the potential existence of the Aboriginal right or title and contemplates conduct that […]