The evolution of Law in Canada

I enjoy reading many Newspapers, each coming at the news from a different view point. Some have a clear agenda, some hide it better than others.

This morning’s Toronto Star contains an article that reads a little bit like a Law Student’s first attempt at a factum (argument of law). This is not to mock Law Students, it is to say, one’s first attempt at a factum is often not one’s best work.

The Star reported on a decision by the Honourable Mr. Justice Durno in the Via Rail Terror trial regarding a publication ban on evidence. The Star’s reporters argue that the decision to release evidence in that case means the decision not to release evidence in the case they hope shows the mayor has links to drugs in the City is wrong.

That’s not how it works. Each case is decided based on the application of the law to the facts before it. If one side believes a decision is wrong, they can appeal it. The higher Court decision is binding on the Courts below it BUT decisions can be distinguished from each other by the facts in each case.

This is how the common law has evolved for centuries and will likely continue on for many more years to come.

We don’t decide law in the media. We don’t decide law by innuendo and rumour. The Law is decided by the application of precedent to specific facts. Yes, sometimes the Law is not perfect, but it is constantly evolving and that is what makes it interesting.

Inga B. Andriessen JD