This week at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada starts its spring session today. The court will hear six appeals this week.

April 15 — British Columbia — Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique v. R.

Civil litigation: At the heart of this matter is a language dispute. Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique and others brought an action against the Province of British Columbia and the minister of Education over linguistic rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in order to protect French-language education and culture in B.C., and sought a declaration to have the French-language exhibits it submitted be considered by the court without a certified translation.

Read the B.C. Court of Appeal’s decision.

Other related news articles:
Documents en français acceptés devant un tribunal de C.-B.? Radio-Canada

April 16 — Quebec — Lévesque v. R.

Criminal law: The appeal in this case relates to instructions to the jury. Pierre Lévesque and an accomplice had planned a theft involving weapons to be used only to secure the victims and conduct the theft. A jury found Lévesque guilty of first-degree murder after two victims were found murdered. In dispute is whether the Court of Appeal erred in minimizing the extent to which the jury’s deliberations and verdict were affected by the absence of additional instructions regarding the knowledge element of being an accessory to murder.

Read the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision.

Other related news articles:
La Cour suprême entendra Pierre Lévesque, Le journal de Québec

April 16 — Nova Scotia — Murphy v. R.

Criminal law: Matthew James Murphy was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder. Several people in the Halifax drug trade had conspired to kill a rival and Murphy was in a car with one of the co-conspirators at the scene of the crime. Murphy testified at trial that he had no knowledge of the conspiracy. The majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal except for one judge who would have acquitted him.

Read the N.S. Court of Appeal’s decision.

Other related news articles:
Man gets bail pending appeal of IWK shooting convictions, The Chronicle Herald

April 17 — Quebec — Régie des rentes du Québec v. Canada Bread Company Ltd.

Legislation: In April 2008, the Court of Appeal reversed a decision of the Régie des rentes du Québec and ruled that certain clauses of a private pension plan that allowed the employer to reduce pensions after shutting down were unlawful. The Régie sought leave to appeal. In June 2008, the Quebec legislature enacted a statute that imposed the Régie’s interpretation of the statute and the application for leave to appeal was dismissed. In August 2009, the Régie made its new decision and applied the statute. The employer challenged the decision, claiming the case was no longer pending when the statute came into force.

Read the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision.

Other related news articles:
How Clear Must the Legislature Be to Set Aside a Final Judgment? Canadian Appeals Monitor

April 18 — Ontario — AIC Ltd. v. Fischer

Civil procedure: A group of mutual fund managers were investigated by the Ontario Securities Commission for “market timing,” which caused long-term investors to lose money on their investments. The managers settled with the commission and were required to pay more than $200 million to investors. Some of those investors sought certification of a class action for the same conduct. The various courts did not agree on whether it should be certified. The main question is what are the temporal, procedural, and substantive elements that a court can consider in relation to the preferable procedure criterion?

Read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision.

Other related news articles:
Supreme Court Will Hear Appeals on Issues of Settlement Privilege, Test for Class Certification and Test for Summary Judgment, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
CI Mutual, AIC lose market timing scandal appeal, The Financial Post

April 19 — Ontario — Wood v. Schaeffer

Right to counsel: In June 2009, the Special Investigations Unit was asked to investigate the conduct of two police officers involved in two separate incidents where civilians had died at the hands of police. In both cases, the subject officer and the witness officers were told not to make notes until they had spoken to counsel and not until the end of their shift. In November 2009, the families of the civilians asked the court to interpret the regulatory regime of the rights and duties of police officers involved in SIU investigations, but their application was dismissed. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and made a declaration about the parameters of the regulatory regime.

Read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision.

Other related news articles:
Family of Peterborough man shot by OPP returning to court next week to appeal ruling on SIU investigations, Peterborough Examiner
Police notes questioned after man fatally shot, Toronto Star

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