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Supreme Court of Canada

Criminal justice Quebec Quebec Court of Appeal Spotlight Supreme Court of Canada

Quebec appeal court to hear appeals in two Jordan cases

Nearly a year to the day when the Supreme Court of Canada issued its landmark Jordan ruling, the Quebec Court of Appeal announced that a five-judge panel will hear an appeal late this summer of a decision to stay a murder charge against a Sri Lankan refugee even though the accused has been deported back to his homeland.…

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Class actions Quebec Quebec Court of Appeal Rulings Supreme Court of Canada

Telecom giants must pay millions following SCC’s refusal to hear appeals

Telecommunication giants Bell Mobility and Rogers Communications must pay millions of dollars to clients who paid excessive cancellation fees after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear their appeals.

More than 166,000 Rogers’ clients who were charged early cancellation fees between 2007 and 2010 stand to share $26.7 million while 76,000 Bell Mobility clients are expected to divvy up $1.6 million – minus legal fees.

In a case dealing with contract for services, early cancellation fee clauses, abusive clauses and the right of unilateral resiliation under the Quebec Civil Code, the Quebec Court of Appeal held in two separate decisions that the two telecom companies overcharged clients who were billed early cancellation fees.…

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Canada Quebec Supreme Court of Canada

Bars lobbying prime minister over appointment of next chief justice

The tussle over the appointment of the new Chief Justice of the nation’s highest court has begun, with both the Bar of Montreal and the Canadian Bar Association penning letters in a bid to sway Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Not surprisingly the new head of the Montreal Bar is calling on Trudeau to respect “tradition” and appoint a Supreme Court judge from Quebec as the top court’s next chief justice.

In a brief letter sent to Trudeau, the president of the Bar of Montreal, Brian Mitchell, underscored the importance of rotating the appointment of chief justice between judges trained in common law and those from Quebec with a background in civil law. Mitchell also said that it is important to alternate between a French-speaking and English-speaking chief justice.…

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Barreau du Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms Legal business Quebec Quebec Court of Appeal Rulings Supreme Court of Canada

Ruling could lead lawyers to think hard before voicing concerns about legal system

In a controversial decision, the Quebec Court of Appeal recently held that Quebec lawyers can criticize the legal system as long as it is done with dignified restraint, constructively and meets the public’s reasonable expectations of a lawyer’s professionalism.

But the appeal court decision has stoked fears that the ruling will engender a chilling effect, and prompt lawyers to think twice before voicing their concerns about the legal system in public for fear of being reprimanded by their law society.…

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Criminal justice Quebec Supreme Court of Canada

Jordan applications keep on rising

The numbers seem to be growing by the day. Ever since the Supreme Court of Canada issued its landmark Jordan ruling on July 2016, the pressure on the justice system seems to be growing. Not a day seems to go by without some horror story about some criminal being let off because of the new deadlines set by the nation's highest court.

The Quebec criminal justice is struggling to comply with the new rules, implicitly acknowledged the Quebec Minister of Justice Stéphanie Vallée when she announced the new investments last December.

Now there are hard figures to back up those concerns.…

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Canada Employment & Labour Law Rulings Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court divided over standard of review for arbitrators

A teacher’s union can call witnesses from an in camera school board meeting to testify about a dismissal ruled the Supreme Court of Canada divided by the kind of judicial standard of review that should apply to an arbitrator’s decision.

The ruling opens the door for employees to examine members of a decision-making authority over motives leading to a disciplinary sanction, reaffirms that deference must be shown to arbitrators in order to “preserve the expeditious, effective and specialized dispute settlement method represented by grievance arbitration,” and by the slimmest of margins held that the standard of review applicable to arbitrator’s decisions is not correctness but reasonableness.…

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Accounting Charter of Rights and Freedoms Court of Quebec Quebec Rulings Supreme Court of Canada Tax

Revenue Canada investigation highly reprehensible, says court

A “highly reprehensible” and illegal probe by the Canada Revenue Agency that failed to draw the distinction between a civil tax audit and a criminal tax investigation has put into jeopardy several tax evasion criminal cases involving Quebec construction companies and corruption charges against former federal civil servants, according to tax experts.

In a precedent-setting ruling that appears to bring more clarity to the leading Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Jarvis , [2002] 3 SCR 757, Court of Quebec Justice Dominique Larochelle held that the evidence produced to charge the owner and three other company officials of a Montreal company, B.T. Céramiques, was obtained illegally because federal tax officials crossed the “Rubicon” and failed to inform the taxpayers that the inquiry had turned into a criminal investigation, thereby breaching their right to freedom from self-incrimination and right to reasonable expectation of privacy guaranteed under s.7 and s.8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.…

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Business Canada Class actions Financial services Supreme Court of Canada

Securities class actions harder to launch after Supreme Court ruling

A ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that dismissed a proposed securities class action against a Montreal pharmaceutical company will likely make it more difficult for investors to launch these kinds of lawsuits in the future, say class action and securities lawyers.

In a ruling that marked the first time the nation’s highest court examined a case involving secondary securities market liability regimes, the SCC held that in order for plaintiffs to be able to proceed with a securities class action they must provide courts with “sufficient evidence” to show a “realistic chance” of success.

“The threshold should be more than a ‘speed bump,’” said Justice Rosalie Abella in a 7-0 decision in Theratechnologies Inc. v. 121851 Canada, 2015 SCC 18. “What is required is sufficient evidence to persuade the court that there is a reasonable possibility that the action will be resolved in the claimant’s favour.”…

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Barreau du Quebec Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms Criminal Code of Canada Public law Quebec Supreme Court of Canada Weekend reads

Controversial “dying with dignity” legislation brings discussion around euthanasia to the forefront

A landmark bill that has thrust debate around end-of-life care into the national political arena by legalizing medically assisted death in Quebec can withstand court challenges and even co-exist with provisions in the Criminal Code against assisted suicide and euthanasia, assert Quebec legal observers.

In a historic vote, after nearly five years of heart-wrenching deliberations across the province by a cross-party committee of the National Assembly that received 273 briefs and heard 32 experts as well as 239 individuals and organizations, about 80 per cent of Members of the National Assembly approved Bill 52, An Act Respecting End-of Life Care. Beyond providing guidelines to help patients who want to end their pain, the legislation sets protocols for doctors sedating suffering patients and aims to expand palliative care across the province.…

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Charter of Rights and Freedoms Employment & Labour Law Federal Court of Canada Supreme Court of Canada Weekend reads

Truth & Consequences

Edgar Schmidt, a soft-spoken lawyer, joins a growing list of Canadian whistleblowers who quickly discover that disclosing potential wrongdoing in the workplace almost always leaves them vulnerable.

Schmidt’s court case raises thorny issues over the nature of the professional responsibilities and ethical obligations of government lawyers.

But it also underscores the tension that exists between the duty of loyalty an employee owes to his employer, freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and federal and provincial whistleblowing legislation that aims to protect whistleblowers from retribution by their employers. …

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