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This week at the SCC

|Written By Elizabeth Raymer

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals this week. The Orphan Well Association and Alberta Energy Regulator will face off against bankruptcy trustee Grant Thornton in court on Thursday, asking the high court to decide on the sale of a bankrupt company’s oil and gas properties, and the costs of remediation for orphan wells. Appeals in three criminal cases relate to murder or sexual assault convictions.

Feb. 12  – Nova Scotia – R.  v. Calnen

Criminal law: The respondent was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his female partner. The respondent denied causing Jordan’s death but admitted to burning her body and disposing of her ashes. He appealed his murder conviction. The majority of the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and set aside the conviction, finding that the trial judge failed to properly instruct the jury on the limitations of the use of after-the-fact evidence.

Read the Nova Scotia appellate court decision here.

Related news story:
Supreme Court to decide if man convicted in Reita Jordan murder should be tried again; CBC News

Feb. 14 – Alberta –  G.T.D. v. R.

Criminal law: Case relates to the Canadian charter (Criminal) — Constitutional law, Right to counsel (s. 10(b)), and Remedy.

Read the Alberta appellate court decision here.

Feb. 15 – Alberta – Orphan Well Association v. Grant Thornton

Constitutional law: Redwater Energy Corporation is a bankrupt company that held licences in oil and gas properties, including “orphan” wells that are no longer producing. The cost of remediation for disclaimed wells can exceed their value. The company’s trustee in bankruptcy sought to disclaim the bankrupt’s interest in those wells but to sell the valuable assets, which the Alberta Energy Regulator opposed. When the trustee did not comply with the Regulator’s abandonment and remediation orders, the Regulator and the Orphan Well Association sought compliance with the remediation orders; the trustee brought a cross-application for approval of the sale of some assets, and a ruling on the constitutionality of the Regulator’s position.

Read the Alberta appellate court decision here.

Related news stories:
SCC will hear arguments on Alberta’s $8 billion abandoned well problem; iPolitics

Alberta Court of Appeal upholds decision on Redwater bankruptcy; Canadian Lawyer

Feb. 16 – Alberta –  A.G.W. v. R.

Criminal law. Read the Alberta appellate court decision here.