Canadian Appeals Monitor Information and Commentary on Upcoming and Recent Appeal Court Decisions

Category Archives: Charter of Rights

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What’s “New” and What to Do About it? Supreme Court Sets High Bar to Appellate Courts Exercising Discretion to Raise New Issues

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Criminal, Procedure

In R. v. Mian, the Supreme Court provided extensive comment on when an “appellate court can disrupt the adversarial system and raise a ground of appeal on its own” initiative.

The Court established a new test for the exercise of appellate courts’ discretion to raise a new issue on appeal. Appellate court judges will now ask themselves three questions when deciding whether to raise a new issue: 1) is the issue actually “new”?; 2) would failing to raise the issue “risk an injustice”?; and 3) can the new issue be raised in a way that will be fair to … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Clarifies Law on Warrantless Cell Phone Searches. Will the Supreme Court of Canada Follow?

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Criminal

Lower courts in both Canada and the US have been deeply divided on the application of their respective Supreme Courts’ precedents on whether the police need a warrant to search the contents of a smart/cell phone seized during a lawful arrest.  On June 25, 2014, the US Supreme Court unanimously settled US law in Riley v. California, No. 13-132.  The court found that privacy interests at stake outweigh any legitimate governmental interest, absent any “exigent circumstances”.

The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution provides protection against unreasonable search.  A common law exception to the protection under the Amendment … Continue Reading

“The digital and Internet age meets the law of search and seizure” as the SCC clarifies the law on search warrants and computers in R v. Vu

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Constitutional, Criminal

Overview

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released a unanimous judgment in R. v. Vu, 2013 SCC 60, in which it ruled that authorities must obtain specific authorization in a search warrant in order to search computers located on premises covered by the warrant. In this case, the police collected incriminating evidence against Mr. Thanh Long Vu from two laptops and a cellular phone on the basis of a search warrant that did not specify that the police had authority to search these devices.… Continue Reading

Vancouver Student Protesters “Stripped” of Class Proceeding

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Class Actions

The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently upheld the denial of certification of a proposed class action involving routine strip searches at a Vancouver city jail. Thorburn v. British Columbia (Public Safety and Solicitor General) illustrates the difficulty of certification in cases that require an individual inquiry into the facts and circumstances unique to each class member.

On April 1, 2003, Vancouver students Elise Thorburn and Christopher Jacob were arrested on charges of mischief for peacefully protesting outside the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver. Thorburn and Jacob were taken to a city jail (the “Jail”) where they received a pat-down search … Continue Reading

Freedom of Expression Trumps Privacy Rights as the SCC brings the Charter hammer down on Alberta’s privacy statute

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Labour and Employment

Overview

In Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 [“United Food”], the Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously decided that Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act [“PIPA”] unjustifiably limits a union’s right to freedom of expression in the context of a lawful strike. The judgment, delivered by Cromwell and Abella JJ. concluded that:

[37] PIPA imposes restrictions on a union’s ability to communicate and persuade the public of its cause, impairing its ability to use one of its most effective bargaining strategies in the course of a lawful strike. In our

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What will Justice Nadon’s appointment bring to the Supreme Court?

Posted in Aboriginal, Administrative, Charter of Rights, Class Actions, Competition, Intellectual Property, Tax

Background

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister surprised many Supreme Court-watchers by nominating the Honourable Marc Nadon to replace Justice Fish at the Supreme Court of Canada. Given this recent appointment, the Canadian Appeals Monitor has taken a look at Nadon J.’s jurisprudential legacy to date and identified key cases which illustrate his judicial leanings, especially as it applies to Canadian businesses and professions. The Canadian Appeals Monitor has also looked at some of the cases that Nadon has argued to get better insights into what kind of judge he is likely to be in the Supreme Court. 

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Close, But Not Too Close to Call: Ted Opitz’s Narrow Victories in the Federal Election and the Supreme Court

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Constitutional

Introduction

On May 2, 2011, Canadians voted in the 41st federal election. Voters in the riding of Etobicoke Centre elected Ted Opitz to represent them in Parliament. The race was hotly contested. So too was the result.

A judicial recount showed that Mr. Opitz won by a plurality of just 26 votes. Boris Wrzesnewskyj, the runner-up, applied to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under s. 524(1)(b) of the Canada Elections Act (the “Act”) to annul the election based on “irregularities … that affected the result of the election”.

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BCCA Asked to Review Advance Costs Made Against Private Litigants in Charter Litigation

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Communications, Constitutional, Procedure

In Dish Network L.L.C. v. Rex, the Supreme Court of British Columbia took the rare step of ordering advance costs in a constitutional challenge. More surprisingly, the court ordered three private litigants to pay 50% of those costs. This case is now headed to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia.

Mr. Rex sold satellite receivers to Canadian residents and, using false U.S. addresses, arranged subscriptions for them from American signal providers. Two American providers and one Canadian provider sued Mr. Rex under the Radiocommunication Act and at common law. In his defence, Mr. Rex alleged that aspects of

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