Friday, April 18, 2008

Osgoode Hall Law School 11th Annual Conference on Supreme Court Constitutional Decisions

The Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto held its 11th annual Constitutional Cases Conference today.

The country's top constitutional law scholars and practitioners came together to offer analysis of the Supreme Court of Canada’s constitutional decisions in 2007.

Topics included:
  • The most significant 2007 Supreme Court of Canada constitutional decisions and their implications
  • The constitutionalization of collective bargaining and the B.C. Health Services case
  • Charkaoui, fundamental justice and national security
  • The constitutional dimensions of access to justice
In anticipation of today's conference, there were 2 interesting newspaper articles that looked at recent trends in the Supreme Court's rulings:
  • Top court takes more time on fewer decisions - Increasingly divided Supreme Court is being 'more pragmatic,' court analyst says (Globe and Mail, April 18, 2008): "The court has also embraced a fiscally cautious approach to just about every Charter of Rights case that could end up costing public money, according to an analysis by Patrick Monahan, dean of York University's Osgoode Hall Law School. 'Pragmatic is a good way of describing them,' Mr. Monahan said in an interview. 'They are looking at consequences' (...) The court turned away from creating complicated 'balancing tests' that lower-court judges must use to determine whether a law or procedure breaches the Charter. In their place, Mr. Monahan said, it is establishing more clearly-defined, 'categorical' rules that state the ingredients that will constitute a breach."
  • High court 'rebalancing' Charter views (Toronto Star, April 18, 2008): "With its judges more sharply divided and the majority often siding with police in 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada may be going through a transformation, one that could see it becoming more 'cautious' in Charter cases, says the author [Patrick Monahan, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School] of an annual report on the court's performance (...) In the 12 cases decided by the court in 2007 that involved the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, those claiming their Charter rights were breached were successful in just three cases.In five cases involving freedom of expression, it was a complete shutout for Charter claimants. In each of the five cases, claimants alleged that government or police had violated their right to freedom of expression. Every time, they lost."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:19 pm


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