This study uses strategic behaviour, leadership change, and feminist theories to examine patterns of judicial activity by the three post-Charter chief justices of the Supreme Court of Canada. Building on prior scholarship, we use various methods to examine patterns of majority voting, dissenting activity, opinion writing, ideological voting, and panel size across the 1973 to 2014 period. While Chief Justices Lamer and Dickson exhibited clear patterns of task leadership, we find strong evidence of strategic change by Chief Justice McLachlin following her elevation to chief. She moved from a prolific dissenter as a puisne justice to a chief who exhibited behaviour of both a task leader and a social leader, which scholars see as highly uncommon. Her efforts to solidify her central role as a collegial leader within her own court, which took place during a period of increasing panel sizes and a shrinking court docket, are remarkable.
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Ostberg, C. L. and Wetstein, Matthew E..
"Strategic Behaviour and Leadership Patterns of Modern Chief Justices."
Osgoode Hall Law Journal