Purposive Interpretation, Quebec, and the Supreme Court Act

17 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2013

See all articles by Michael Plaxton

Michael Plaxton

College of Law, University of Saskatchewan

Carissima Mathen

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

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Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

On 30 September 2013, the Prime Minister announced the nomination of Marc Nadon, a Federal Court of Appeal judge, to fill the seat vacated by Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish. The announcement was accompanied an unusual supporting document: an opinion by a former Supreme Court Justice, The Honourable Ian Binnie. Asked whether the Supreme Court Act permits the appointment of Federal Court judges, Binnie wrote a brief memorandum arguing that it does - a conclusion endorsed by another former Supreme Court Justice, Louise Charron, and Professor Peter Hogg. In this brief paper, we examine Binnie's approach to the interpretation of ss. 5 and 6 of the Supreme Court Act. Though his interpretation of s. 5 is sound, we are less sure of his approach to s. 6. The text and legislative history of s. 6 suggest that there may well be a statutory barrier to Nadon's appointment. We also take the opportunity to reflect on purposive interpretation generally.

Keywords: Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, judicial appointments, fair reflection of society, Justice Marc Nadon

Suggested Citation

Plaxton, Michael and Mathen, Carissima, Purposive Interpretation, Quebec, and the Supreme Court Act (October 2013). Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2013-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2346326 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2346326

Michael Plaxton (Contact Author)

College of Law, University of Saskatchewan ( email )

15 Campus Dr
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N5A6
Canada
3069665894 (Phone)

Carissima Mathen

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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