An Early history of the 'By the Court' decisions on the Supreme Court of Canada

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Zanoni, Marc
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Political Science
The Supreme Court of Canada has developed a practice of releasing some of the most important constitutional decisions as anonymous, which disregards a long standing judicial tradition of acknowledging which judge authored the opinion. Judgments that fit this style have been coined the ‘By the Court” decisions. Supreme Court scholars have recognized this practice, but there has been no scholarship dedicated to explaining its emergence. It is widely accepted that this practice emerged on the Supreme Court on our modern court in the 1970s, and it was a borrowed practice from a neighboring country. This thesis uses empirical evidence to demonstrate that the Supreme Court has used the By the Court style for nearly a century before the 1970s. It argues that this practice has organically grown through the Supreme Court of Canada’s own functioning, and identifies critical junctures to explain its evolution.
anonymous judgements , By the Court decisions , institutional operations , Supreme Court of Canada