Justice Robert Sharpe on the 25th anniversary of R. v. Oakes [1986]

Ottawa Law Review 2012 Symposium, University of Ottawa
Justice Robert Sharpe – The Court of Appeal for Ontario


Click here for the video of the Conference.

The Law Faculty of the University of Ottawa held in 2012 a symposium marking the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Its keynote speaker Justice Robert Sharpe spoke on the 25th commemorative anniversary of the R. v. Oakes [1986] and the its historical circumstances surrounding the decision. The R. v. Oakes [1986], noted Justice Sharpe, was certainly amongst the most important first cases of the Charter, completing along with Hunter et al. v. Southam Inc. [1984] and R v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd. [1985] a trilogy of founding Charter challenges that have since provided the “basic structure and framework” in interpreting and applying the Charter. Justice Sharpe argued that the trilogy as well as a series of speeches by Chief Justice Dickson challenged what Justice Sharpe called the “legal formalism” of the judiciary: the strong tendency to see the law as emanating strictly from statutes and determined by deductive logic in a purely “mechanical fashion” rather than being also informed partly by “outside contexts such as social contexts or political contexts” and the legal tradition. Click here for the summary. 

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