Reviewed by Patrick J. Ducharme and Edward W. Ducharme
The 18th-century sage, Dr. Samuel Johnson, once observed that there is little point in wasting precious time discriminating between a louse and a flea.
In Final Decision-Making in Canadian Courts of Appeal, 1 the authors expend considerable time and energy performing a similarly wasteful exercise. So the book fails, finally, to appeal, not because it is not well-researched but because it aspires after and achieves so little.
After all the analysis, after all the dutiful recording of statistical data, the authors produce conclusions such as these:
1. The justices of the Supreme Court of Canada in the landmark case of R. v. Morgentaler disagreed among themselves about what decision on
abortion legislation was the correct one;
2. What judges determine to be the “right” or “correct” answers to legal issues is a function of their personalities, values, educations, and socio-cultural backgrounds;
3. Different judges attach different weight to facts and law, and in doing so their privileging of one –facts or law–affects the decisions at which they arrive;
4. Given the same law and the same or similar facts, some judges take a “strict” or conservative approach to the granting of appeals, while others are more liberal.
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