HomeTag Archives: purposive

Tag Archives: purposive

Statutory Interpretation from the Stratasphere

Statutory interpretation presents problems of judicial subjectivity.[1] Though it is well-established that courts and advocates must look to the “text, context, and purpose” of a particular statutory provision to determine its meaning, little work has focused on what courts should do when purposes are stated at different levels of abstraction, or where the statute has multiple purposes which are seemingly ...

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A Wise Decision in Retrospect

The Ontario Court of Appeal handed down two seminal decisions last month. In the companion cases, Cobb v. Long Estate and El-Khodr v. Lackie,  the Court of Appeal (hopefully) settled the doctrine in a number of areas relevant to motor vehicle accident (“MVA”) litigation. Cobb and El-Khodr were appeals arising from the assessment damages, prejudgment interest, and costs in the context ...

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The Perils of the Purposive Approach

The Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly said that, in interpreting statutes, courts should undertake a unified textual, contextual and purposive approach. Under this approach “the words of an Act are to be read in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention ...

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The Need for Doctrine: Scalian Originalism and Canadian Purposivism

A legal lion passed away recently. One might argue that the death of Justice Antonin Scalia means much more for the American legal audience than the Canadian one. After all, Scalia’s death tossed the Supreme Court of the United States into the centre of an already contentious election season and brought to the forefront the divisively partisan tendencies of the ...

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The Ghosts of Nadon Haunt the Supreme Court

Is there any real distinction between the phrases “from the Bar” and “from among the advocates”? According to two recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions, the answer to that question must be an emphatic “yes”. The first decision is well-known to the legal community and to the public as a whole. In Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and ...

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When Words Apparently Do Not Mean What They Say

Kassburg v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2014 ONCA 922, is an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that was released without much fanfare due to the timing of the release (December 29, 2014, right in the middle of the holiday season).   Kassburg is worthy of comment, if only for the reason that it is one of the latest ...

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Common Sense for Contracts but not for Statutes

The Supreme Court of Canada has reaffirmed an integral principle of contract law: the interpretation of contracts should be based on the text of the agreement, not the subjective intentions of the parties. Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp.1 involved the interpretation of a finder’s fee agreement in a mining property acquisition, and specifically what date ought to determine ...

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Supreme Court Alters the Balance of Power Between Labour and Business

On June 27, 2014, the Supreme Court released a decision that will affect every employment relationship across Canada.  In United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 503 v. Wal Mart Canada Corp., a 5-2 majority of the Court held that an employer – in this case Wal-Mart – is prohibited from permanently shutting down its business during the collective bargaining process, unless it ...

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