Making Sense of Reasonableness

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Dunsmuir, Reasonableness, Correctness, Substantive Review, Supreme Court of Canada


When the Supreme Court of Canada released its judgment in Dunsmuir v New Brunswick in 2008, there was general (if cautious) agreement that this development was likely to simplify substantive review. That is, Dunsmuir's downsizing of the standards from three to two (cutting out patent unreasonableness and leaving only reasonableness and correctness), together with its streamlining of the work of selecting the standard (by way of a set of categorical presumptions), was regarded, not least by the judges issuing the decision, as a win for efficiency and judicial economy.


This chapter includes revised passages from Professor Wildeman's chapter in the 2nd edition of this text, Pas de Deux: Deference and Non-Deference in Action.