Managing Charter Equality Rights: The Supreme Court of Canada’s Disposition of Leave to Appeal Applications in Section 15 Cases, 1989-2010

Supreme Court Law Review (2d), Vol. 51, 2010

Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 41/2010

36 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2010

See all articles by Bruce Ryder

Bruce Ryder

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Taufiq Hashmani

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: October 13, 2010

Abstract

Through a study of the Court’s disposition of 177 leave to appeal applications in s.15 cases since 1989, the authors examine the role of the Supreme Court of Canada in guiding the development of Charter equality rights jurisprudence. The data reveals that the grant rate on leave applications in s.15 cases has declined markedly since the late 1990s, reaching historic lows in the past five years. The grant rate in s.15 cases has declined more precipitously than the grant rate in Charter cases as a whole, even though s.15 jurisprudence remains in an unsettled and unsatisfactory state, and even though the Court continues to be presented with compelling applications for leave to appeal in s.15 cases. When the Court has granted leave in s.15 cases in recent years, the Court has dismissed s.15 claims perfunctorily in a majority of cases as other legal issues took centre-stage. The data also reveals that the chances of being granted leave in s.15 cases, and of succeeding on appeal to the Supreme Court, are much higher for governments. The authors conclude that the Court has played a significant role, through its management of the appeal process, in directing a restricted scope for Charter equality rights.

Keywords: Supreme Court of Canada, Charter, Equality Rights, s. 15, Leave Applications, Rate

JEL Classification: K39

Suggested Citation

Ryder, Bruce and Hashmani, Taufiq, Managing Charter Equality Rights: The Supreme Court of Canada’s Disposition of Leave to Appeal Applications in Section 15 Cases, 1989-2010 (October 13, 2010). Supreme Court Law Review (2d), Vol. 51, 2010; Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 41/2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1691676

Bruce Ryder (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Taufiq Hashmani

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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