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March 26, 2014

A Linguist’s Perspective on the Supreme Court Act

In my post yesterday on the decision in Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and 6, I mentioned that the statutory interpretation issues raised in the decision were as much linguistic as they were legal issues. It therefore seems appropriate to have the perspective of a trained linguist on sections 5 and 6 of...

March 25, 2014

Statutory Interpretation and the Nadon Decision

Despite the momentous issues at stake in Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and 6, 2014 SCC 21, the case, at bottom, involved a routine exercise of statutory interpretation: Do the words “from among the advocates of that Province” in section 6 denote current membership in the Quebec bar? Based on the often repeated...

February 24, 2014

Hryniak v. Mauldin: An Update on Culture Shift

In its important decision in Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, the Supreme Court of Canada signalled the need for lawyers and judges to re-think their approach to the civil justice system in order to provide timely and affordable access to the courts. This “culture shift” entailed simplifying pre-trial procedures and “moving the emphasis away...

February 20, 2014

Legal Implications of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on North Korea

In March 2013, the United Nations established a Commission of Inquiry to examine the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea. The outstanding Australian High Court judge Michael Kirby was appointed Chairman of the Commission. The Commission released its measured but harrowing report on February 17, 2014....

January 31, 2014

Moral Character

Over a two year period in the late 1990’s, journalist Stephen Glass fabricated some forty articles in prestigious publications, including The New Republic and Harpers. His fraud is considered among the worst in the annals of journalism. At the time they were committed, Glass was also a part-time law student. Following his graduation, he applied...