Changes coming fast for Supreme Court of Canada

Changes coming fast for Supreme Court by Kirk Makin, March 29, 2013, The Globe and Mail
With the old guard disappearing into retirement, and a new breed of cases coming to the fore, the Supreme Court is entering a period of dramatic change: By the end of 2014, only one judge – Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin – will have spent more than a decade on Canada’s top bench. The centres of influence are shifting, and fast. All eyes then are on the two rookies who will soon rank high in seniority. Both were appointed on the same day in late 2011, and both were contentious choices. Mr. Justice Michael Moldaver, a veteran of the Ontario Court of Appeal, arrived with unquestioned credentials and a criminal-law pedigree, but was viewed by the defence bar as a cantankerous opponent of Charter rights.

After assembling a collection of last year’s Supreme Court of Canada decisions involving the Charter of Rights, law professor Jamie Cameron was startled. She had located just 10 judgments; one of the lowest totals since the Charter came into being in 1982. “When the Charter loses its profile at the court, it also loses its profile in public discourse,” Prof. Cameron, a Charter expert, opined. Some court watchers assert that the most momentous Charter issues have been resolved. Others argue that Charter litigation is so expensive, few can argue all the way to the Supreme Court – especially at a time when judges are generally cool to the idea of striking down laws. However, Charter jurisprudence is being replaced by cases in a broad array of legal fields, said Ottawa lawyer Eugene Meehan. He noted a host of important cases involving new technology in the areas of copyright and computer privacy. [Emphasis added]

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