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Archive For Entries On Charter

The Retirement of Justice Louis LeBel and the Secretive Process that Led to the Appointment of Suzanne Côté

The government has slammed the door on parliamentary and public involvement regarding the replacement of retiring Justice Louis LeBel. On November 30, 2014, Justice LeBel turned 75, the mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court judges. Most justices often depart some months before their birthdays, but LeBel decided to take his tenure right to the end. […]

Forest Ethics Advocacy Assn v Canada: Barred from Charter Relief

This comment is the second part of a two-part series analyzing the Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”) decision in Forest Ethics Advocacy Assn v Canada (National Energy Board), 2014 FCA 245 [Forest Ethics]. As outlined in part one, Forest Ethics is a judicial review of interlocutory decisions related to a proceeding on the approval of […]

Wakeling v United States of America: Supreme Court Upholds Wiretap Disclosure Provision

In Wakeling v United States of America, 2014 SCC 72, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) considered the constitutionality of the legislative scheme surrounding the disclosure of information collected through wiretaps to foreign governments. In a 3-1-3 split decision, the Court dismissed this challenge to the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46. While grappling with […]

R v Conception: The Last Word Between Courts and Hospitals for Unfit Accused

Part XX.1 of Canada’s Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46 [the Code], fundamentally altered the way a criminally accused person with a mental illness engages with the criminal justice system. This comprehensive new structure was a response to cases like R v Swain, 1991 1 SCR 933, in which Parliament recognized the need for a new statutory regime sensitive to the […]

Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining Rights Face Legislative Challenge: British Columbia Teachers’ Federation v British Columbia

The government of British Columbia (BC) recently filed an appeal challenging the decision by the Supreme Court of British Columbia (“BCSC”) in British Columbia Teachers’ Federation v British Columbia, 2014 BCSC 121 (“BCTF”) which found in favour of the provincial teachers’ union. The leader of the governing BC Liberal Party, Christy Clarke, has signalled the province’s […]

Carter v Canada: Highlights from the Supreme Court of Canada Hearing

Early on a rainy morning, I arrived to the Supreme Court of Canada and was lucky enough to be able to watch the Carter v Canada (Attorney General) [Carter] appeal. In this case, several plaintiffs challenged the Criminal Code provisions prohibiting physician assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia under sections 7 and 15 of the Charter. […]

Torture and the Limits of Sovereign Immunity: Kazemi Estate v Islamic Republic of Iran

In Kazemi Estate v Islamic Republic of Iran, 2014 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) looks at whether Canadians have the right to sue foreign governments for damages resulting from acts of torture. The SCC ultimately denied the victims’ claim for a civil action, finding that acts of torture are not exceptions to the general […]

New Test for When an Appellate Court Can Raise a New Issue: R v Mian

In R v Mian, 2014 SCC 54 [Mian, SCC], the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) attempted to strike a balance between two competing roles for appellate courts – of neutral arbiter and of justice-doer. In the process, the SCC set a new precedent for determining when an appellate court can raise a novel legal issue.

The Supreme Court Addresses the Truth in Sentencing Act and the Retrospective Application of Legislation: R v Clarke

R v Clarke, 2014 SCC 28, is part of the trilogy of cases recently released by the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) addressing the issue of the Conservative government’s tough-on-crime policy expressed in the Truth in Sentencing Act, SC 2009, c 29 (the “Act”). As discussed in previous commentary from TheCourt.ca on R v Summers, 2014 SCC 26 [Summers], the […]

Prisoners Cannot Be Punished Twice: Canada (Attorney General) v Whaling

This past March, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous 8-0 decision on Canada (Attorney General) v Whaling, 2014 SCC 20. This ruling upholds the Charter right of prisoners not to be punished twice for the same offence. History In 1992, Parliament brought in a simplified process for accelerated parole review (“APR”) that would benefit non-violent […]