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appeals, will count as three reversals (or affirmations).
Monahan pointed out that last
year the Supreme Court did hear
companion appeals from both
the Federal Court of Appeal and
the Quebec Court of Appeal.
“I think it’s really necessary to
take a bit of a longer view to see
over time whether that pattern
[in 2010] is consistently upheld,”
There were 465 leave applications submitted to the judges for
decision in 2010—the lowest
number in 11 years.
(There were also fewer litigants knocking at the court’s
door—488—the lowest number
in more than a decade.)
A leading Supreme Court
agent, Henry Brown of Gowlings
in Ottawa, said he believes the
court’s acceptance of fewer leave
applications in the past few
years — down from 75 or so annu-
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ally to 50+ — is
ward trend in
cations has sent
a message to the
Brown suggested. “In my view, the
profession is responding, in part,
by filing fewer applications.”
Monahan said it is too early to
tell. “I think we have to see the
number of leave applications be
below 500, or around 500, for
two or three years before we can
really make a confident conclu-
sion on that because [the number
of applications at times] does go
up and down by 100 a year.”
Most of the leave applications
last year came from Ontario
(139), Quebec (117), B.C. (66), the
Federal Court of Appeal (61) and
Alberta (29), according to 2010
statistics the Supreme Court
recently posted on its website.
Of all applications for leave to
appeal submitted to the court last
year, 27 per cent were for criminal cases and 73 per cent were
for civil cases.
Of the appeals actually heard
last year 34 per cent were criminal and 66 per cent were civil.
More specifically, the appeals
heard were: criminal law 23 per
cent; procedural law 12 per cent;
Charter (criminal) 11 per cent;
statutes 11 per cent; Charter (civil)
nine per cent; commercial law
eight per cent; family law five per
cent; native law five per cent; torts
five per cent; administrative law
three per cent; property law three
per cent; and others five per cent.
The 65 appeals heard in 2010
came from: the Federal Court of
Appeal ( 18); B.C. ( 13); Ontario
( 10); Alberta ( 10) Quebec ( 9); Saskatchewan ( 3); and Manitoba ( 2).
The statistics reveal that the
High Court remains very efficient.
In 2010, the average time
between filing a leave to appeal
application and final judgment
was 18. 8 months—shorter than
the 21.6-month average for the
The judges are deciding leave
applications quickly (in 3. 4
months, on average). They are
scheduling cases for hearing
without delay (within 7. 7 months
of granting leave, on average).
But the court did take longer
to hand down its judgments in
2010 than at any time in the previous 10 years: 7. 7 months after
the hearing, on average. That
compares to six months, on average, in the prior decade.
“That does seem to suggest
that they were having difficulty
getting to conclusions,” Monahan
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