How to Consider Agreements Between Spouses: SCC Grants Leave in Anderson v Anderson
The Court
by Joey Jang
1d ago
There is a presumption of equal distribution of family property upon divorce under the Saskatchewan Family Property Act, SS 1997, c F-6.3 [FPA]. However, parties can contract out of this presumption by executing an agreement which outlines terms for dividing their family property. While parties can ensure the enforceability of their agreement by preparing a formal “interspousal contract” that meets certain requirements under the FPA, the FPA also allows courts to use their discretion to consider agreements between spouses that do not meet those requirements. The Saskatchewan Court of Appe ..read more
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2022 at the Supreme Court: Year in Review
The Court
by Braelyn Rumble
3d ago
Despite the uncertainties brought on by 2022, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC” or “the Court”) concluded another noteworthy year. The Court began to slowly welcome back members of the public on a limited in-person basis after two long years of virtual hearings. Additionally, notwithstanding global disruptions like the war in Ukraine or the internal tensions within the United States (“U.S.”) Supreme Court, the SCC remained focused on moving through their docket. In 2022, the Court rendered an impressive 54 decisions—a strikingly similar number to those issued in 2021.  For the second con ..read more
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Entrapment and Bona Fide Internet Investigations: R v Ramelson, Jaffer, Haniffa, Dare
The Court
by Jennifer Laws
4d ago
When the police investigate crime over the internet, they do so on a tightrope, perilously close to tumbling into privacy violation, random virtue testing, or worst of all, entrapment. At the end of 2022, in four related appeals, the Supreme Court of Canada considered these dangers and the validity of internet-based sting operations. The bulk of the Court’s reasons were given in R v Ramelson, 2022 SCC 44 [Ramelson].  The other three related appeals (R v Jaffer, 2022 SCC 45; R v Haniffa, 2022 SCC 46; R v Dare, 2022 SCC 47) were decided based on the reasoning in Ramelson. Facts of the Case ..read more
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R v JJ : The SCC Expands the Privacy Rights of Sexual Assault Complainants
The Court
by Kai Tanveer
2w ago
In R v JJ (2022 SCC 28) (“JJ”), the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) considered the scope and legality of Bill C-51, which attempts to remove some of the hurdles that prevent victims of sexual assault (hereinafter referred to as “complainants”) from coming forward. The Bill was enacted in 2018, as An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, and led to the inclusion of ss. 278.92-278.94 of the Criminal Code. These were the provisions that were at issue in the present case. Background Over the past few decades, Parliamen ..read more
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To delay or not to delay? SCC ponders in Law Society of Saskatchewan v Abrametz
The Court
by Shirin Monga
1M ago
It is widely known that the Canadian court systems are generally plagued by delay for many reasons such as lack of resources, high volume of cases, etc. During COVID-19, it was observed that delay was further exacerbated due to lockdowns, which created additional barriers to access to justice. In contrast, administrative law and administrative decision-makers (“ADMs” or “ADM”) help ease the burden on the courts because they are known for more timely decision-making. However, it seems delay is creeping into administrative law. In October 2000, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) first addressed ..read more
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Binding or Not? The SCC to Comment on Horizontal Stare Decisis in Appeal of R v Coban
The Court
by Alexandra Robbins
1M ago
The Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) has granted leave [40223] for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“CBC”) et al to appeal R v Coban, 2022 BCSC 880 [Coban]. Coban is a highly publicized case. It involves the prosecution of Aydin Coban, a man who sexually extorted and harrassed Amanda Todd, an underage girl who subsequently committed suicide. The Supreme Court of British Columbia (“BCSC”) has issued thirteen different judgements in the matter, pertaining to various issues such as jurisdiction [2022 BCSC 1441], admissibility of evidence [2021 BCSC 2297], and even the constitutionality of s ..read more
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“Unsolicited, unnecessary, and contrary to stare decisis:“ Dissent Criticizes SCC’s Majority Opinion in R v Sharma
The Court
by Azka Anees
1M ago
In R v Sharma, 2022 SCC 29 [“Sharma”], the Supreme Court of Canada [“SCC”/”the Court”] upheld the constitutionality of provisions that restricted the availability of conditional sentences. This decision marks a break from the SCC’s recent trend of overturning amendments to the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46 [“Code”] made during the Harper era. Conditional sentencing allows offenders who satisfy relevant statutory criteria to serve their sentences under surveillance in their communities. The impugned provisions make conditional sentences unavailable for certain offences, including those with a ..read more
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Maple Syrup Gone Wrong
The Court
by Tiffany Wang
2M ago
Introduction: R v Vallières, 2022 SCC 10 revolves around a criminal enterprise transacting stolen maple syrup. This case marks the ultimate decision regarding a decade-long, notorious maple syrup heist uncovered in 2012. Richard Vallières, the respondent, resold a quantity of stolen maple syrup valued over $18,000,000. As a result of criminal transactions, Vallières netted approximately $10,000,000 in income and $1,000,000 in personal profits.  The trial judge and the Quebec Court of Appeal diverged regarding the amount of the fine to be paid by Vallières. The trial judge imposed a fine o ..read more
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Common Sense, Speculative Reasoning, and Judicial Notice: SCC Grants Leave in R v Kruk
The Court
by Joey Jang
2M ago
Content Warning: This article includes details about an allegation of sexual assault that may evoke strong emotions. In R v Kruk, 2022 BCCA 18 [Kruk], the British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) noted that “[relying] on … life experience to assess the credibility of witnesses is a daily and appropriate exercise for trial judges” (Kruk, para 41). After all, judges are human beings. However, when does the use of human experience and common sense cross over into speculative reasoning that constitutes a legal error? This issue is especially prevalent in sexual assault trials, where judges often ..read more
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Relevance in Context: SCC decides R v Schneider
The Court
by Jennifer Laws
2M ago
Trial judges play many roles, but one of their main tasks is determining what evidence is admissible. As a rule, all relevant evidence is admissible. But how do trial judges determine relevance, and what can they not take into account? This was the main question in R v Schneider, 2022 SCC 34 [Schneider], which the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decided this year.   Facts and History In September of 2016, a young woman named Natsumi Kogawa was reported missing. Two weeks later, a news report showed a picture of Ms Kogawa with an unidentified male, later identified as William Schneider (the ..read more
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