R v. NS: What's Fair in a Trial? The Supreme Court of Canada's Divided Decision on the Niqab in the Courtroom

14 Pages Posted: 8 May 2013 Last revised: 11 Oct 2017

See all articles by Faisal Bhabha

Faisal Bhabha

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

In 2008, a woman entered an Ontario courtroom to give evidence at a preliminary inquiry involving childhood sexual assault charges against her uncle and cousin. She sought to testify while wearing a niqab, a garment that conceals the entire head and face, leaving only an opening for the eyes. The court was asked to decide the novel question whether it could accommodate the Muslim veil in a system of justice that provided the accused with a right to face his accuser. The Supreme Court of Canada divided three ways, with justices disagreeing deeply both about the analysis for determining whether to permit a witness to wear the niqab, and the values and interests at play in this analysis.

Keywords: Supreme, Court, Canada, Trial, Niqab, Accommodate, Muslim

JEL Classification: K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Bhabha, Faisal, R v. NS: What's Fair in a Trial? The Supreme Court of Canada's Divided Decision on the Niqab in the Courtroom (2013). Bhabha, F. (2013) R. v. N.S.: What is fair in a trial? the supreme court of Canada’s divided opinion on the niqab in the courtroom. Alberta Law Review, 50(4), 871-882.; Osgoode Hall Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 22/2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2261857

Faisal Bhabha (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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