The Upside of Dissent in Equality Jurisprudence
(2013) 63 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 111
30 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2014
Date Written: July 1, 2013
It is impossible to imagine Canadian constitutional law without dissent. Dissent fulfils a variety of functions, and takes diverse forms. While to many, dissent negatively affects a court's authority, this paper focuses on its positive aspects. After a general discussion of how judicial dissent has manifested in cases arising under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the paper considers the particular relationship between dissenting opinions and the development of constitutional equality jurisprudence. Using several examples and culminating with a recent, highly fractured Supreme Court decision, it suggests that, in the evolution of equality law, dissent is associated with richer reasoning.
Keywords: Canadian constitutional law, Canadian Charter of Rights, Supreme Court of Canada, judicial dissent, equality, section 15, section 7, judicial review
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