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The Supreme Court of Canada and the Alberta Court of Appeal: Do the top courts have a fundamental philosophical difference of opinion on public law issues?

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Prompted by the marked clash between the Supreme Court of Canada and the Alberta Court of Appeal in R. v. Ewanchuk, the authors ask whether this conflict is indicative of a fundamental divergence of opinion between the two courts. To answer this question, the authors embark on a review of all 132 public law cases appealed from the Alberta Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada between 1982 and December 2000. The authors examine these cases to determine the extent of the Supreme Court's overt criticism of the reasoning employed by the Alberta Court of Appeal. While acknowledging the obvious difficulties of subjecting this data to precise analysis, the authors find that the data reveals some predictable patterns regarding the manner in which the two courts react to certain public law questions. The authors conclude that there are some fundamental philosophical differences between the courts, a finding which indicates that the clash between the courts in the Ewanchuk case was not a completely unique or unpredictable circumstance. | lnspirds par le conflit choquant entre la Cour suprdme du Canada et la Cour d'appel de I 'Alberta dans R. contre Ewanchuk, les auteurs se demandent si ce conflit est indicatif de la divergence d'opinions entre les deux cours. Afin de ripondre i cette question, les auteurs ont revu les 132 causes de droit public qui ont fait I'objet d'un appel de la Cour d'appel de l'Alberta devant la Cour supreme du Canada entre 1982 et ddcembre 2000. Les auteurs tudient ces causes pour ddterminer lI 'tendue de la critique flagrante de la Cour supreme sur le raisonnement de la Cour d'appel de I 'Alberta. Tout en reconnaissant qu 'il est difficile de soumettre ces donnges ai des analyses prdcises et scientifiques, les auteurs estiment que les donnies rgvelent certains modilesprdvisibles dans la mani~re dont les deux cours r~agissent aux questions de droit public. Les auteurs concluent qu 'il existe certaines diffdrences philosophiques fondamentales entre les cours, ce qui indique que le conflit entre elles quant a I'affaire Ewanchuk n 'taitpas tout afait unique or impr~visible.

  • Date created
    2001
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3N873D6P
  • License
    © 2001 Barbara Billingsley et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Billingsley, B., & Elman, B. (2001). The Supreme Court of Canada and the Alberta Court of Appeal: Do the top courts have a fundamental philosophical difference of opinion on public law issues? Alberta Law Review, 39(3), 703-737. Retrieved from http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/alblr39&div=36&g_sent=1&collection=journals
  • Link to related item
    http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/alblr39&div=36&g_sent=1&collection=journals