Supreme Court of Canada to rule on case concerning the ability of the courts to order payment for court experts

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Ottawa – The Supreme Court of Canada will release its decision on Thursday, August 1, 2013 in Her Majesty the Queen v. Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Ontario, et al.

This case involves the question of whether a court can order the Crown to pay for the services of an amicus curiae. An amicus curiae, literally a “friend of the court”, is someone who is not a party to the case who educates the court on points of law or fact. A court has the power to appoint an amicus curiae to assist it in fulfilling its duties.

The BCCLA is an intervener in the case. The BCCLA recognizes that the protection of civil and human rights depends upon the existence of a system of law in which courts are able to impartially and independently settle disputes. For the courts to function in our adversarial system, the BCCLA says that judges must be in a position to call upon the assistance of amicus curiae on such terms as are necessary for the court “to administer justice fully and effectively”. It is essential for courts to be in a position to appoint sufficiently experienced amicus curiae to assist them in complex and serious cases. In short, courts must have the tools they need to preserve their own integrity and to protect the public’s confidence in them, both of which are essential to maintaining the rule of law.

The BCCLA is represented by Micah Rankin of Thompson Rivers University and Elizabeth France of Sugden, McFee & Roos LLP.

The BCCLA’s argument in the case is available here.

What: Supreme Court of Canada will deliver its decision in Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Ontario case

When: Court will release judgment on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:45 am PST /9:45 am EST.

Where: Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario)

Who: Representatives from the BCCLA available for comment