This Week at the SCC (13/06/14)

This week, the Supreme Court of Canada issued two rulings, granted two leave to appeal applications, and dismissed three applications for leave to appeal, in cases likely to be of interest to Canadian businesses and professionals.

In R. v. Spencer, 2014 SCC 43, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the police engaged in an unconstitutional search and seizure when they obtained from an Internet service provider -- without prior judicial authorization -- the subscriber information associated with an IP address.

The Supreme Court of Canada also ruled in Canadian Artists’ Representation v. National Gallery of Canada, 2014 SCC 42 that, inter alia, establishing a minimum fee for the use of existing works does not affect any of the rights conferred on copyright holders under s. 3 of the Copyright Act. Moreover, the Court ruled that the National Gallery of Canada failed to bargain in good faith by refusing to implement minimum fees for the licensing or assignment of the copyright in existing artistic works.

Leave to appeal was granted by the Court in Attorney General of Alberta v. Moloney, a “division of powers” case which addresses whether a province can require the payment of a judgment debt created by a provincial statute when the debt has been released under federal bankruptcy legislation.

The Supreme Court also granted leave to appeal in Stuart Olson Dominion Construction Ltd. v. Structural Heavy Steel, which involves the issue of whether the filing of a lien bond in court in the full amount of a subcontractor’s lien claim extinguishes a contractor’s obligation to that subcontractor under the trust provisions of The Builders’ Lien Act of Manitoba.

The Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal in Vivona v. Royal Bank of Canada, refusing to hear the issue of whether a bank’s non-compliance with the Canada Small Business Financing Regulations invalidates or limits the personal guarantee of a loan.

Leave to appeal was also denied in Schober v. Tyson Creek Hydro Corporation, a case involving a failed attempt by a representative who had given oral discovery evidence on behalf of a party to obtain a declaration that the evidence was subject to an implied undertaking of confidentiality.

The Court also refused leave to appeal in Lower v. Hay -- a case which explored the extent to which a witness can be insulated from a costs award based on the “witness immunity rule.”

The McCarthy Tétrault Opinions Group consists of members of the firm’s litigation department whose practices focus on written advocacy and the provision of strategic advice and opinions in the context of complex business disputes and transactions.  The members of the Opinions Group are Anthony Alexander, Martin Boodman, Brandon Kain and Hovsep Afarian.



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