Dalhousie Law Journal


Supreme Court of Canada, judgement, judges, courts


When the Supreme Court of Canada delivers its reasons forjudgment, the normal expectation (the rare "By the Court" decision aside) is that the judgment of the Court-unanimous or majority or even plurality-will be designated as having been delivered by one specific judge. ("The reasons of A, B, C and D were delivered by B.") But in recent decades, the practice has developed for two or more judges to share this formal designation; co-authorships currently account for one judgment (and, for that matter one set of minority reasons) in every ten. This article explores this practice, unusual among comparable national high courts: when it started, which judges and which combinations of judges have been the most frequent participants, and what sorts of cases (type of law, size of panel, length of reasons) have tended to be involved; and it concludes by considering why this matters, and what it tells us about the evolving Court.

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