Congratulations on your recent appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada. You are one of the nine distinguished individuals shown below - but which one? This quiz should help you determine that.
Photo by Philippe Landreville. Back row, left to right: The Honourable Madam Justice Louise Charron; the Honourable Mr. Justice Morris J. Fish; the Honourable Madam Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella; and the Honourable Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein. Front row, left to right: The Honourable Mr. Justice Louis LeBel; the Honourable Mr. Justice Michel Bastarache; the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada; the Honourable Mr. Justice William Ian Corneil Binnie; and the Honourable Madam Justice Marie Deschamps.
As the court of last resort, you and your colleagues must make the final decisions on cases brought up from lower courts throughout Canada. Most of these cases have already been through at least one appeal. Many of them are difficult, and require the creation of new legal theories and interpretations.
The quiz contains ten cases, and due to the gravity of the matters involved, you should spend at least three minutes deliberating on each case. Each multiple-choice answer is the summary of an actual opinion rendered by at least one of the Justices; so no terribly wrong answers should be possible. Read the answers carefully - they often differ in subtle details. The Justices write their opinions after consulting each other, and often refer to each others' opinions in the text of their own. To simulate that process, we mark the majority answers (where they exist), and provide a "[Discuss]" link for each case through which you can exchange comments with other Web site visitors. You can also read the original decisions on the Supreme Court Web site by following the link from the title of each case. Remember, though, that as a Justice of the Supreme Court the ultimate responsibility for your decisions is yours alone.
Your job serves multiple goals that may sometimes come into tension. You must ensure that justice is done; but you must also give appropriate deference to the decisions of lower courts, and overrule them only when the law allows you to do so. You must consider the issues in each individual case; but recognizing that Supreme Court decisions will become part of the law and cited in other cases, you must also pay close attention to the public policy consequences of your decisions. You must state the reasons for your decisions; and your opinion may differ from a colleague's even if you have the same conclusion, if you have different reasons for it. You should probably familiarize yourself with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Criminal Code of Canada before you start.
Cases for the quiz were chosen so that any two of the nine Justices differed on at least two cases. This version of the quiz is current as of August 1, 2008. The old version, from 2004, is still available but may contain many broken links. At some point in the future we might transform it into some kind of "which historical Justice were you?" quiz to capture a wider time span.
All original content, such as case summaries and descriptions of Justices, copyright © 2008 Matthew Skala. The PHP 5 source code for this page may be used under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3. That license applies to the PHP source code as a whole. For greater clarity, permission is specifically granted to post the quiz results on Web sites as suggested in the instructions that appear with the results, without incurring the obligations of the source code license.
Content reproduced on this Web site is not an official version of any materials reproduced from the Supreme Court of Canada, and has not been made in affiliation with, nor with the endorsement of, the Supreme Court of Canada.
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I am not a lawyer and nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. This quiz is intended to be educational and entertaining; no mockery or ridicule of the Justices or anyone else is intended.