Dalhousie Law Journal


Supreme Court of Canada, courts, judgements, Legal Complexity Index, McLachlin Court, judges, inequality, gender, seniority


The workload of the Supreme Court of Canada is shared among the Court's nine members, but is this sharing equal with respect to the writing of judgments? A simple count does not provide an answer because not all cases are equally important. This paper develops an objective measure of case importance-the Legal Complexity Index-and applies it to the cases decided by the McLachlin Court. It demonstrates that judgment-delivery opportunities for significant cases have not been shared equally, either overall or with respect to any of the major subdivisions of the caseload. Some judges enjoy the spotlight, while others are relegated to the margins. An assessment of the major correlates of this inequality-gender, seniority, and the "Chief Justice factor". indicates that their combined impact poses a significant challenge for the Court.

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