The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference

Article Title

Charter Rights, State Expertise: Testing State Claims to Expert Knowledge


This article considers the individual and collective significance of two decisions issued by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2018: Ewert v. Canada and R. v. Gubbins. At first glance, these decisions appear to have relatively little in common with one another. In Ewert, the Court considered the accuracy of diagnostic and risk assessment tools used by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) when making decisions about offenders. In Gubbins, the Court was concerned with pre-trial disclosure rules regarding approved breath alcohol analyzers. Ewert and Gubbins interpret different statutes and consider different Charter rights. The cases reach different conclusions about whether the State had met its responsibilities when dealing coercively with individuals in different corners of the criminal legal system.