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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 20, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Bar Association wants automatic appeals aboli shed Wednesday, June 20, 1973 THE IETHBRIOCE HERALD Change in supreme court civil appeal cases recommended OTTAWA (CP) Automatic appeals in civil cases should be abolished in the Supreme Court of Canada so that only impor- tant national issues will be de- cided by the high court, a spe- cial committee of the Canadian Bar Association recommended today. Civil cases involving or more now are heard as a matter of right by the court. Many such appeals involve car accidents, expropriations and similar cases that are of- little or no legal consequence, the committee said. If its recommendations are acted upon by Parliament, a panel of Suoreme Court justices would decide whether an appeal is of sufficient national impor- tance to be heard. B. J. MacKinnon, chairman of the special committee, said 80 per cent of the civil cases now heard by the court are auto- matic appeals. This has lead to a heavier workload than the nine-member court is able to handle. In some instances, it takes up to two years for an appeal to go through all Supreme Court processes. The report was-commissioned i by then justice minister John I Turner in 1972. Mr. MacKinnon also said the report has yet to get the bless- ing of the Canadian Bar Associ- ation. The association will dis- cuss it at its annual mssting in Vancouver in August. TOO MANY APPEALS Mr. MacKinnon said an ideal year's work for the court would be to hear and decide 120 ap- peals. In the last few days, the number of appeals before the court ready to be heard has ap- proached 200. Mr. MacKinnon said the new rule if adopted would not neces- sarily mean a new role for the court. But the judges would have more time to ponder is- sues of national importance, such as interpretation of laws and constitutional issues. He noted that the U.S. Su- preme Court now requires spe- cial permission for civil ap- peals. He also said that the com- mittee had considered but jected for the time increasing the number of Supreme Court judges. The discussion had cen- tred on adding two justices to the court and might have to be considered again if the abolition of automative appeals does not have the desired effect. Criminal appeals would not be affected. Automatic appeals now are allowed in criminal cases where death is involved or when there is a dissent in the provincial su- preme courts. The committee brief, pre- sented today to Justice Minister Otto Lang, said raising 000 requirement was considered as a means of reducing the Su- preme Court's caseload. But: "We concluded that this solu- tion was objectionable in prin- ciple. In Canadian society to- day, we believe that money or property alone, at any figure of monetary value, is simply not acceptable as the basis of an exclusive right of appeal as a matter of right to the Supreme Court of Canada." If adopted, the recommenda- tion would give the Supreme Court the same appeal proce- dure as supreme courts in the U.S. and Britain, where the high court can decide not to hear a requested appeal in any case. OTHER SUGGESTIONS Other recommendations made by the committee: court should continue with nine justices unless the principal recommendation does not bring sufficient relief, In which case addition of more justices should be considered. court should remain the final court of appeal for all sub- jects and it should not be re- stricted to "so-called federal questions." Some persons have recommended that the court not hear cases which arise under provincial law. present court year of three sessions should be contin- ued. practice of having all arguments before the court delivered orally should con- tinue. On the need to reduce the Su- preme Court's caseload, the committee said it now takes two years for a typical appeal to be heard. Without counter- measures, ttiis period would in- crease to five years. The committee said that dur- ing the Jast 24 years, about 30 per cent of the court's caseload consisted of appeals for which the court had granted leave. Most of the rest were civil cases involving more than 000 and thus ones where the court had no choice but to bear the appeal. SAFEWAY SAVE CHOC. MALLOWS David's Empire 14-oz. net wt. pkg. c SAVE CHEEZIES :NACK 5.5-oz. net wt. pkg. SAVE On Household Needs! DETERGENT Tide Powdered King Size 5 Ib. net wt. pkg. ea, L Brocade Bathroom White, pink, yellow, 600-1 ply ......4 rol! pkg and Save On These Extra Saving Specials! 0 Spray Starch Easy On............20-oz. net wt. tin V Disinfectant V15 Softener 'i-69 Facelle Royale color print or 180-2 ply.....2 roll pkg. Pinesol and Cleaner 28 fl. oz. btle. Aerosol Window BOH Alttl Cleaner 20-oz. net wt. tin................. 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