Constitutional Cases 2016: An Overview

Benjamin Berger, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
Sonia Lawrence, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
Spiros Vavougios

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We are delighted to offer this introduction to the yearly volume of articles flowing from Osgoode Hall Law School’s annual Constitutional Cases Conference. The articles in this volume offer insightful and illuminating analysis of the constitutional jurisprudence from the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2016 term. In this introduction, we set the frame for these articles with an overview of the “constitutional year” at the Supreme Court, identifying some key patterns, themes, and issues that gave 2016 its distinctive mark. This overview is organized into three parts. As is the custom for these introductions, in Part I, we begin by offering a view of the constitutional jurisprudence of the Court in 2016 “on the numbers”. In Part II we reflect on two larger issues that shaped the Court’s work in 2016: retirements and debates about appointments, and the pressing question of reconciliation and the Constitution. Finally, Part III examines the decisions themselves, directing the reader to articles in this volume which provide in-depth analysis and offering our observations about how these cases participate in broader themes and patterns that have been in our sightlines at the Constitutional Cases conference over the past many years.