This paper examines the major constitutional decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada in the 2007 calendar year. The Court decided just 58 cases in 2007, the lowest number since 1975, and only 63 per cent of judgments were unanimous, a departure from the McLachlin Court’s overall average of 75 per cent. The Court’s decisions averaged 44.8 pages per appeal in 2007, the longest in 20 years, while the time from the hearing of an appeal to the release of the judgment increased to 6.6 months. Only 25 per cent of Charter claims were successful in calendar 2007. This is a departure from the McLachlin Court average of 44 per cent, but closer to the long-term average of one in three challenges succeeding. One the me that emerges from the 2007 term is the Court’s concern with the monetary implications of the recognition of Charter claims, on display in the Hislop and Christie cases. The Court rejected all five of the freedom of expression claims it heard, and sided with law enforcement in two cases concerning police powers. The paper canvasses each of these decisions, as well as the Canadian Western Bank and Lafarge cases dealing with federalism issues. the paper concludes with a brief look at the voting patterns of the judges, followed by an examination of the implications of Justice Bastarache’s June 2008 retirement. The nomination process for the next Supreme Court justice is described, and some of the changes brought in by the Conservative government are critiqued. The government should monitor the impact of these changes to ensure that the merit principle remains the dominant consideration for appointments to the Court.
Monahan, Patrick J. and Gotowiec, James.
"Constitutional Cases 2007: An Overview."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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