Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Canadian Lawyer Magazine Interview With Retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Charron

The most recent issue of Canadian Lawyer magazine features a cover story plus interview with Louise Charron who recently retired as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

She describes her background as well as what happens behind the scenes at the Court:
"While the public tends to focus on the hearings where scarlet-robed judges listen to the arguments and pepper counsel for each party with questions, Charron says much of the work takes place well before the panel files into the courtroom. 'There really is a huge amount of preparation because when we do get to the hearing and we hear the argument and we walk out and the door closes, we are ready to decide the case'."

"Charron says the judges meet as soon as possible after the hearing. When she was first named to the SCC, the court had a practice of hearing from each judge according to their seniority. 'Initially, when I got here the court was still following a pretty set procedure where the most junior judge would speak first and then we would go in reverse order of seniority. . . . It put quite a burden on the junior judge but I thought it made a lot of sense as well because you could have your opportunity to give your views on a case'."

"Over time, the court adopted a less formal process and now begins its deliberation with an open discussion, says Charron. 'With a general discussion you have the benefit of hearing the people’s views . . . then we go back to each in turn [and] we give our views on how we think we would dispose of the case and why'."

"Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin then asks for volunteers to write the judgment but the judgments are only assigned to judges at the end of a two-week session. If there is going to be a dissenting opinion, the dissenting judges decide among themselves who will write it, but it is only written after the majority opinion is finalized, Charron points out."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:22 pm

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