THE COURT is the online resource for debate & data about the Supreme Court of Canada.*

Archive For Entries On Constitutional Law

BULLETIN: SCC Rejects Appointment of Nadon J. to Its Bench

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and 6, 2014 SCC 21, which dealt with the appointment of Justice Marc Nadon of the Federal Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court’s previous discussions of the case can be found here and here. […]

Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Drug Offences Struck Down by BC Provincial Court in R v Lloyd

After finding the mandatory minimum sentence for drug possession for the purpose of trafficking (contrary to s. 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act [CDSA]) violated s. 12 of the Charter (R v Lloyd, 2014 BCPC 0008 [Lloyd]) in January 2014, Galati J. of the Provincial Court of British Columbia has found that the […]

Metadata and the Fourth Amendment

The American National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk metadata collection program has been the subject of considerable scrutiny ever since The Guardian revealed the program’s existence last summer as part of its reporting on leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Perhaps the most salient legal issue regarding the metadata program is whether it violates the […]

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 during town council meetings in Ontario. The Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodation in Quebec recommended that municipal councils abandon […]

Oral Arguments: Professor Alan Young on Bedford

Alan Young, Osgoode Professor and lead counsel in Canada v Bedford, 2013 SCC 72 provides an overview of the litigation strategy employed in his successful challenge to three criminal code provisions related to sex work. Drawing on the lessons learned from R v Malmo-Levine; R v Caine, 2003 SCC 74, Professor Young outlines how he structured the […]

Banking for Federalism: SCC to hear Appeal in Bank of Montreal (BMO) v Marcotte

BMO v Marcotte (Marcotte) is part of a trilogy of cases (Federation des Caisses Desjardins du Quebec v Marcotte, and Amex Bank of Canada v Adams) that question the banks’ role in society. All three of them will be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Winter 2014. Marcotte in particular is a class action against […]

The States, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Next Wave of the US Marriage Equality Battle

Roughly half a year has passed since the United States Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in United States v Windsor, 570 US (2013), but it is increasingly clear that the marriage equality battle in the courts is far from over. On December 20, Judge Robert Shelby of the Utah Federal Court struck down the state’s prohibition […]

Departing from Higher Authority: Vertical Application of Precedent after Bedford

The ratio of a case answers the question: “what was decided?” It conveys the judicial reasoning that determines a legal issue. This reasoning synthesizes legal rules, evidence and social values. The ratio of an appellate court decision binds courts of first instance, requiring the lower court to apply the ratio to any analogous case over which they preside. “As a general […]

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 SCC 72 [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. […]

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 […]