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The Court of Appeal for Ontario

The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal in Canada, 1792-2013

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 376
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  • Book Info
    The Court of Appeal for Ontario
    Book Description:

    In Christopher Moore's lively and engaging history of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, he traces the evolution of one of Canada's most influential courts from its origins as a branch of the lieutenant governor's executive council to the post-Charter years of cutting-edge jurisprudence and national influence.

    Discussing the issues, personalities, and politics which have shaped Ontario's highest court,The Court of Appeal for Ontariooffers appreciations of key figures in Canada's legal and political history - including John Beverly Robinson, Oliver Mowat, Bora Laskin, and Bertha Wilson - and a serious examination of what the right of appeal means and how it has been interpreted by Canadians over the last two hundred years. The first comprehensive history of the Ontario Court of Appeal, Moore's book is the definitive and eminently readable account of the court that has been called everything from a bulwark against tyranny to murderer's row.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2247-0
    Subjects: History, Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    R. Roy McMurtry and Jim Phillips

    In 1850 the Court of Error and Appeal for Canada West met for the first time. It was the first appeal court for what is now Ontario that was both independent of the Executive Council and staffed only by professional judges. It is therefore appropriate that Christopher Moore’s study of the court’s history sees this as a landmark event, the final departure from vesting appeal in a political body. Moore’s account of the court over more than two hundred years is part institutional history, charting the various and at times complex reorganizations since 1850 and identifying the most significant changes...

    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Warren K. Winkler

    Tradition and history have always played an important part in defining our legal landscape. The Court of Appeal for Ontario, one of Canada’s most important institutions, is no exception to this general rule. Tracing the evolution of the court from its inception more than 200 years ago to the present involves an intricate chronology of structural changes to the court interwoven with a mosaic of personalities that would challenge the creativity of any novelist. A final component requires an analysis of a myriad of jurisprudentially groundbreaking cases that were decided by some of the foremost legal scholars our country has...

  6. Introduction and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-2)

    Three judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario share the raised bench at the front of the court. The courtroom may be one of the antique rooms, all dark wood and elaborated carved mouldings, near the central rotunda of Osgoode Hall, or it may be one of the sleek, paneled, modern rooms farther back in the additions to the hall. Either way, the room is usually quiet. A typical appeal will have no jury, no witnesses, no direct and cross-examination, no need for the careful placing on the record of the facts of the case, indeed little of the...

  7. 1 Give Us the Court of Appeal, 1792–1874
    (pp. 3-38)

    Canada West’s new Court of Error and Appeal held its first sitting at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on Friday, 8 March 1850. The west wing of Osgoode Hall, constructed between 1844 and 1846 as the seat of the superior courts of Canada West, was then still the property of the Law Society of Upper Canada, which had agreed “to provide fit and proper accommodations for the superior courts of law and equity for all time to come.”¹ At the request of the Crown, therefore, the Law Society had made hasty renovations to the building to provide chambers and courtrooms for...

  8. 2 Oliver Mowat’s Court, 1874–1912
    (pp. 39-70)

    Oliver Mowat had been Mr Justice Oliver Mowat of the Court of Error and Appeal from 1864 until the day in 1872 when he resigned his vice chancellorship, having just been sworn in as premier and Attorney General of Ontario. Mowat, a Kingston-born son of a shopkeeper, had first found success as an equity practitioner in Toronto and as a reformminded politician. In October 1864, when he was a cabinet minister engaged in the constitutional negotiations at Quebec City that would lead to Canadian Confederation, Vice Chancellor James Esten died in Toronto. Attorney General John A. Macdonald, Mowat’s political rival...

  9. 3 The Meredith-Mulock-Rowell Courts, 1913–38: Experiments in Court Reform
    (pp. 71-99)

    By 1913 Ontario, having secured and greatly extended its boundaries and its political autonomy within Confederation, was established as the province that would be the economic giant of Confederation for most of the twentieth century. At Confederation, the province had still been principally a wheat-growing agricultural economy, very much dependent on Montreal, then the commercial and financial capital of Canada. As Western Canada grew, slowly at first and then explosively after 1896, Ontario provided many of the early leaders (and lawyers) for the new communities there, as well as supplying the region with goods and transporting its grain and other...

  10. 4 The Robertson-Pickup-Porter Courts, 1938–67
    (pp. 100-122)

    Ontario transformed itself between the late 1930s and the late 1960s. With the post-war baby boom and massive immigration, its population grew from about three and a half million to seven and half. Its economy, already dominated by automotive and machine manufacturing, and iron and steel production, saw continued expansion, and the standard of living improved constantly throughout the period. Toronto consolidated its place as a financial capital, and the period saw rapid growth in urban development and in the infrastructure of intercity transportation, hydroelectric development, and higher education. Labour unions secured their place as legitimate representatives of workers and...

  11. 5 Renewal: the Gale-Estey-Howland Courts, 1967–90
    (pp. 123-159)

    For John Arnup, it was “the strongest appellate court in Canada.”¹ Bertha Wilson declared it was “at that time the finest court in the country.” Bud Estey, with his flair for vivid expression, said it was “the best single court in the western world.”² The speakers were hardly dispassionate, certainly, for they had all been members of the court they praised so highly. But more than team spirit was at work here. These muchadmired jurists were speaking not of the Court of Appeal for Ontario throughout its history, but making a claim about that court at a specific moment. Beginning...

  12. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  13. 6 The Dubin-McMurtry Courts, 1990–2007
    (pp. 160-183)

    Charles Dubin, who succeeded William Howland as chief justice of Ontario on 12 April 1990, had some reluctance about becoming a judge. From modest roots in Hamilton, Ontario, he had succeeded brilliantly in the law, confronting and overcoming the bar’s endemic anti-Semitism and becoming one of the youngest lawyers in history to be named Queen’s Counsel. By the 1960s, he was widely recognized as one of the two or three leading trial and appellate advocates in the country in both civil and criminal law. His love of legal practice was such that when offered an appointment to the Court of...

  14. 7 Into the Twenty-First Century: The Winkler Court, 2007–13
    (pp. 184-200)

    On 1 June 2007, Warren Winkler was named as Roy McMurtry’s successor and became the twenty-ninth chief justice of Ontario. Winkler had been raised in Alberta (in the same small town, as it happened, as the slightly younger future chief justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin). He came to Osgoode Hall to study law in the late 1950s, a very green country boy in his own telling, but gregarious and with a knack for joining organizations, making contacts, and finding mentors. He went on to earn a graduate degree in labour law with Harry Arthurs when labour law was still a...

  15. Note on Methods
    (pp. 201-204)
  16. Appendices
    (pp. 205-210)
  17. Biographical Dictionary of the Judges of Appeal
    (pp. 211-286)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 287-310)
  19. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 311-312)
  20. Index
    (pp. 313-326)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 327-331)