(from my better late than never, can it be November? category, i meant to have this up in September…)
TRU Prof Sam Singer and TRU student Stephanie Weidmann’s short piece highlighting some Canadian caselaw in Art/iculation, an interdisciplinary print and digital magazine, is available here. Prof Singer is an OBA Foundation Chief Justice of Ontario Fellow in Legal Ethics and Professionalism Research (2019-2020) for The Ethics of Trans Competent Lawyering and Judging, see here. Sam is very keen on tax and tax policy, see here.
Interested in the report mentioned at FN1 in Fighting for Justice? For more information about the Canadian Human Rights Commission report, “Trans Rights, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression in Canada”, please contact the author, Samuel Singer.
Finally! Sam also has a piece in LGBTQ2+ LAW: PRACTICE ISSUES AND ANALYSIS edited by Joanna Radbord. IFLS is a co sponsor of the launch for the book, which is coming up: Monday November 25 630-830 at Glad Day Books
Chapter 1: The Gay Agenda: A Short History of Queer Rights in Canada (1969-2018) Chapter 2: LGBTQ2+ Cultural Competency Chapter 3: Human Rights Chapter 4: LGBTQ2+ Equality Claims Under the Charter Chapter 5: Trans Competent Lawyering Chapter 6: Family Law Chapter 7: Polyamorous and Non-Dyadic Relationships Chapter 8: Conflict of Laws Chapter 9: Estate Planning Issues Chapter 10: LGBTQ2+ Immigration Issues Chapter 11: Children and Youth Legal Issues Chapter 12: Criminal Law and Public Health
You can find the book for order here, and check Carissima on Twitter @cmathen in case she’s doing a launch event that you can get to (Winter Semester, Osgoode). If you are on twitter and don’t follow her, recommend that you do, for live tweeting all kinds of things, for instant digests of SCC new releases, for fun. Oh, and if you want the JCPC Person’s case itself, here it is on Canlii.
(excerpt from Chapter 7 “Interpretation and Rights” with thanks to Carissima)
It took time for the Persons Case to make its mark. [A]side from a few other Privy Council decisions, it went virtually unmentioned until 1979. In its own time, academic discussion of the reference was uniformly negative. British scholar Berriedale Keith said that ‘no decision of the Privy Council is probably harder to defend as sound in law ’. GF Henderson was equally cutting, charging that the case was ‘not written in strict accordance with well understood legal principles ’; that the federal government had manipulated the situation to secure its preferred outcome; and that the JCPC had by ‘ judicial legislation … altered the constitution of the Senate of Canada ’.
More positive regard began to emerge in the 1970s, a time of greater awareness of women’s rights and an increasing role for feminist advocacy. After being mentioned in some early Charter decisions, Edwards quickly assumed more prominence. The reference enjoyed an intriguing duality. It was used to chart a different path to constitutional interpretation compared to the more formalist approach of the Supreme Court of the 1970s. At the same time, being so deeply rooted in the country ’s legal history, it may have rendered the Court ’s momentous interpretative choices, a number of which are explored later in this chapter, less radical.
The critiques of the Persons Case are reminiscent of the debates in the United States over the soundness of the Brown v Board of Education (Topeka) landmark decision. Although it is possible to legitimately object to the judicial craft in each, and many commentators do, few take the next step and claim that the decision should be cast aside. In Canada, such a position would be repudiated by all but the most implacable defenders of constitutional minimalism. The hesitation to fully back the implications of such a critique illustrates the opinion’s power. For, while the reference may attract debate over its precise contours, and future applications, there is in almost all quarters an acceptance of its legacy and continuing force.”
Have you or your colleagues got New In Print academic/legal work that could be featured here? Let me know via email.
Here is a pdf of the decision in R v Doering, in which Justice Pomerance convicts a police officer of (inter alia) criminal negligence causing the death of Debra Chrisjohn, a woman “of indigenous heritage” who died in London, Ontario, while in police custody. Ms. Chrisjohn died September 7 2016, of a heart attack.
Reading the media/social media reports of what happened to Ms. Chrisjohn (here; here) put me in mind of media reports about the Inquest into the death of Tanya Day, a Yorta Yorta woman who died in Castlemaine Police Station nr Melbourne December 22 2017. For a review see here. The Inquest took place this past August – I read coverage in the Guardian by Calla Wahlquist @callapilla in the Guardian (eg, this).
The decision of Justice Pomerance is highly critical of the police response. She also, in one of the last paragraphs, notes:
 Finally, Ms. Chrisjohn was of indigenous heritage. There is no suggestion that this played any role in decisions made by the police in this case. Nonetheless, it has been observed that indigenous women and girls are particularly vulnerable to stereotyping. This includes stereotypes relating to alcohol and drug abuse. (see the Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Girls (Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls).. On this point, see also R. v. Barton, 2019 SCC 33.
Thanks to Kate Kehoe (@katekehoe1) who i have followed forever but never met, for reaching out and sending the judgment (which isn’t on CANLII yet).
As many of you know, there are so many scholars who have recognized the connections between police relations with Indigenous peoples in different settler-colonial states. The deaths of Ms. Chrisjohn, and Ms. Day, do illustrate that connection, the hard work that families, advocates and communities are doing to speak out, to mourn, bring these things to mainstream attention, to use law to demand accountability. So just…thinking transnationally.
THURSDAY 14 November 2019 1230PM Osgoode Hall Law School IKB 2027 (Faculty Lounge)
How did the world come to see women as “at risk” for HIV? How did a disease of men come to kill women? Against a linear narrative of scientific discovery and progress, Feminism’s Medicine argues that it was women’s rights lawyers and activists that fundamentally altered the legal and scientific response to the epidemic by changing core conceptions of who was at risk of contracting HIV. In other words, feminists not only changed the legal governance of AIDS, they altered the scientific trajectory of the epidemic. In doing so, they moved resources towards women in the epidemic. Feminists advocated for women to be seen as a risk group for HIV in multiple locations: in U.S. administrative agencies, courthouses across the country, as well as in global governance institutions. The talk will consider the impact of a diverse range of feminisms for its impact on scientific ideas, legal reform agendas, and the distributional consequences of feminist engagement in the AIDS epidemic.
“From Rigobertu Menchu to Anne Frank, the testimonials of women and girls are often seen to have particular authority in ‘speaking truth to power’ and bearing witness to vulnerable communities’ experience of genocidal violence and their fortitude in resistance. Feminist celebration of ‘narrative truth’ has rendered truth commissions a particularly important site of feminist engagement.
At the same time, feminist analysis of the politics of knowledge and their mobilization in the commission of truth has drawn attention to the fraught stakes of categories such as victimhood, voice and injury. This talk will engage in the debate by thinking with Paulina in Ariel Dorfman’s play, Death and the Maiden.