The Supreme Court of Canada recently confirmed the discretionary power of superior court judges to sit outside their home province without a video link to an open courtroom in their home province. The decision clarifies an important point of procedure in pan-Canadian class actions – encouraging judges to employ pan-national solutions to ensure that the process works efficiently, expeditiously and cost effectively.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently released two decisions concerning the admissibility of expert evidence. The decisions concerned the appropriate considerations in determining whether an expert witness is sufficiently independent and impartial, and whether the standards for admissibility of expert evidence should take into account the proposed expert's (alleged) lack of independence or bias.
In Parsons v Ontario, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that an Ontario Superior Court judge can preside at a hearing outside Ontario, provided that there is a video link back to an Ontario courtroom. By divided reasons the court upheld the decision of the motion judge that the court had the inherent jurisdiction to sit outside Ontario without violating the open court principle under Section 135 of the Courts of Justice Act.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal has held that a British Columbia superior court judge cannot preside at a hearing outside British Columbia. In so ruling the appeal court overturned a decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court, which had held that no constitutional principles or rules of law prevent a judge in British Columbia sitting outside the province.
The Supreme Court's recent decision in Bhasin v Hrynew recognised a new common law duty of honest performance applicable to all contracts, which requires the contracting parties to be honest with each other in relation to the performance of their contractual obligations. In its decision the Supreme Court sought to introduce clarity and coherence into this area of the law which it described as "piecemeal, unsettled and unclear".
The Ontario Court of Appeal has released its decision in Alfano v Piersanti, upholding the trial judge's decision following a three-day voir dire that the evidence of the defendant's proposed expert was inadmissible on the basis that the expert was neither objective nor independent. The case confirms that while a lawyer may act as a hired gun, at least in Canada, an expert may not.
The Supreme Court of Canada has allowed in part the appeals by NAV Canada and various airport authorities from two decisions (one by the Ontario Court of Appeal, the other by the Quebec Court of Appeal) dealing with the rights of NAV Canada and airport authorities against the lessors of aircraft concerning unpaid charges incurred by the operators of the aircraft.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently delivered two decisions that refine the established three-part test for claims for unjust enrichment. In these decisions the court divided the analysis of the third element of the test, an absence of juristic reason, into two stages, thus giving judges greater discretion to decide claims for unjust enrichment.