Lists of landmark court decisions

"Landmark case" and "Landmark cases" redirect here. For other uses, see Landmark cases (disambiguation)

Landmark court decisions, in present-day common law legal systems, establish precedents that determine a significant new legal principle or concept, or otherwise substantially affect the interpretation of existing law. "Leading case" is commonly used in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth jurisdictions instead of "landmark case" as used in the United States.[1][2]

In Commonwealth countries, a reported decision is said to be a leading decision when it has come to be generally regarded as settling the law of the question involved. In 1914, Canadian jurist Augustus Henry Frazer Lefroy said "a 'leading case' [is] one that settles the law upon some important point".[3]

A leading decision may settle the law in more than one way. It may do so by:

  • Distinguishing a new principle that refines a prior principle, thus departing from prior practice without violating the rule of stare decisis;
  • Establishing a "test" (that is, a measurable standard that can be applied by courts in future decisions), such as the Oakes test (in Canadian law) or the Bolam test (in English law).
  • Sometimes, with regard to a particular provision of a written constitution, only one court decision has been made. By necessity, until further rulings are made, this ruling is the leading case. For example, in Canada, "[t]he leading case on voting rights and electoral boundary readjustment is Carter. In fact, Carter is the only case of disputed electoral boundaries to have reached the Supreme Court."[4] The degree to which this kind of leading case can be said to have "settled" the law is less than in situations where many rulings have reaffirmed the same principle.

Landmark decisions in Australia

Decisions in leading cases in Australia have usually been made by the High Court of Australia, although historically some have been made by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

Landmark decisions in Canada

There is no universally agreed-to list of "leading decisions" in Canada.

One indication, however, as to whether a case is widely regarded as being "leading" is its inclusion of the ruling in one or more of the series of compilations prepared over the years by various authors. One of the earlier examples is Augustus Henry Frazer Lefroy's Leading Cases in Canadian Constitutional Law, published in 1914. More recently, Peter H. Russell and a changing list of collaborators have published a series of books, including:

  • Leading Constitutional Decisions (first published 1965, with several later editions);
  • Federalism and the Charter: Leading Constitutional Decisions (published in 1989, co-edited by Russell, F.L. Morton and Rainer Knopff);
  • The Court and the Charter: Leading Cases (published in 2008, co-edited by Russell, Morton, Knopff, Thomas Bateman and Janet Hiebert); and
  • The Court and the Constitution: Leading Cases (published in 2008, co-edited by Russell, Morton, Knopff, Bateman and Hiebert).

Decisions in leading cases in Canada have usually been made by the Supreme Court of Canada. Prior to the abolition of appeals of Supreme Court decisions in the 1940s, most landmark decisions were made by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

Decision Court Date & citation Subject matter Principle or rule established by the court's decision Full text
Robertson and Rosetanni v R Supreme Court [1963] SCR 651 Canadian Bill of Rights Establishes that the Bill of Rights is not concerned with rights in any abstract sense, but rather with the more modest objective of prohibiting restrictions on rights as they existed in Canada at the time the Bill of Rights was enacted. [2]
Reference Re Anti-Inflation Act Supreme Court [1976] 2 SCR 373 Use of extraneous material in court decisions. Established that it is acceptable for Canadian courts to examine historical material in addition to the text of the relevant statute. [3]
Patriation Reference Supreme Court [1981] 1 SCR 753 Constitutional conventions Establishes that constitutional conventions are not legally binding. [4]
Quebec (AG) v Blaikie (No 1) Supreme Court [1979] 2 SCR 1016 Status of English and French in Quebec legislation. Established that all laws and regulations of the province of Quebec, as well as all courts and tribunals, must treat French and English with absolute equality. [5]
R v Sparrow Supreme Court [1990] 1 SCR 1075 Constitution Act, 1982, section 35(1) (Aboriginal rights) Establishes that aboriginal rights that pre-exist the Constitution Act, 1982 cannot be infringed without justification. [6].
Delgamuukw v British Columbia Supreme Court [1997] 3 SCR 1010 Constitution Act, 1982, section 35(1) (Aboriginal rights) [7]
R v Marshall Supreme Court [1999] 3 SCR 456 Constitution Act, 1982, section 35(1) (Aboriginal rights) Establishes that aboriginal treaty rights are subject to Canadian law, but not to provincial licensing systems. R v Marshall (No 1)R v Marshall (No 2)
Tsilhqot'in Nation v British Columbia Supreme Court 2014 SCC 44 Constitution Act, 1982, section 35(1) (Aboriginal rights) Established land title for the Tsilhqot'in First Nation. [8]
Reference Re BC Motor Vehicle Act Supreme Court [1985] 2 SCR 486 Charter of Rights, section 7 (Legal rights) Establishes that laws which impose prison sentences for "absolute liability" offences (i.e. offences for which intent or negligence need not be shown) are invalidated by section 7 of the Charter. [9]
R v Morgentaler Supreme Court [1988] 1 SCR 30 Charter of Rights, section 7 (Legal rights), abortion The abortion provision in the Criminal Code violated the right of women, under section 7 of the Charter to "security of the person". [10]
Gosselin v Quebec (AG) Supreme Court 2002 SCC 84 Charter of Rights, section 7 (Legal rights) Establishes that section 7 does not mandate positive rights to welfare benefits, but that "a positive obligation to sustain life, liberty or security of the person may be made out" under different circumstances than those of the instant case. [11]
Andrews v Law Society of British Columbia Supreme Court [1989] 1 SCR 143 Charter of Rights, section 15 (Equality rights) Establishes the "Andrews test" for determining whether Charter-protected equality rights have been violated. [12]
Hunter v Southam Inc Supreme Court [1984] 2 SCR 145 Charter of Rights, section 8 (Legal rights) Establishes that the Charter ought to be interpreted purposively. [13]
R v Feeney Supreme Court [1997] 2 SCR 13 Constitution Act, 1982, section 8 (Procedural rights) Establishes that the police cannot enter a home without a search warrant. [14]
Egan v Canada Supreme Court [1995] 2 SCR 513 Charter of Rights, section 15(1) (Equality rights) Establishes that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited under section 15(1). [15]
Law v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) Supreme Court [1999] 1 SCR 497 Charter of Rights, section 15(1) (Equality rights) Establishes the "Law test" for identifying Charter-prohibited discrimination. [16]
Canada (AG) v Hislop Supreme Court 2007 SCC 10 Charter of Rights, section 15 (Equality rights) Establishes that Charter-mandated rights come into existence, for purposes of applicability, only from the moment that their existence is determined by the court. Charter rights are not "discovered" in the sense proposed by Blackstone, and therefore are not retroactive. [17]
Ford v Quebec (AG) Supreme Court [1988] 2 SCR 712 Charter of Rights, section 2(b) (Freedom of expression) [18]
Irwin Toy Ltd v Quebec (AG) Supreme Court [1989] 1 SCR 927 Charter of Rights, section 2(b) (Freedom of expression) [19]
R v Zundel Supreme Court [1992] 2 SCR 731 Charter of Rights, section 2(b) (Freedom of expression) [20]
R v Sharpe Supreme Court 2001 SCC 2 Charter of Rights, section 2(b) (Freedom of expression) [21]
Mahe v Alberta Supreme Court [1990] 1 SCR 342 Charter of Rights, section 23 (Minority-language education rights) Establishes that section 23 of the Charter is intended to be remedial, and therefore should be given a large and liberal interpretation. [22]
R v Oakes Supreme Court [1986] 1 SCR 103 Charter of Rights, section 1 (limits on rights protected elsewhere in the Charter) Establishes the "Oakes test" determining whether laws placing limits on Charter-protected rights are permitted under section 1 of the Charter. [23]
Meiorin Supreme Court [1999] 3 SCR 3 Charter of Rights, section 15(1) (Equality rights) Establishes the "Meiorin test" to be used in applying human rights legislation. [24].
Auton (Guardian ad litem of) v British Columbia (AG) Supreme Court 2004 SCC 78 Charter of Rights, section 15 (Equality rights) Establishes that section 15 of the Charter does not create a positive right to receive government services. [25]

Landmark decisions in New Zealand

Decisions in leading cases in New Zealand were made by the Court of Appeal of New Zealand before the establishment of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, although historically some have been made by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

Landmark decisions in the United Kingdom

Decisions in leading cases in the United Kingdom have usually been made by the House of Lords, or more recently the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; in Scotland by the Court of Session or High Court of Justiciary; in England and Wales by the Court of Appeal or the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. Some twentieth century examples involved contributions from the late Lord Denning.

Landmark decisions in the United States

Landmark cases in the United States come most frequently (but not exclusively) from the Supreme Court of the United States. United States Courts of Appeals may also make such decisions, particularly if the Supreme Court chooses not to review the case, or adopts the holding of the court below. Although many cases from state supreme courts are significant in developing the law of that state, only a few are so revolutionary that they announce standards that many other state courts then choose to follow.

International courts

See also

References

  1. ^ Meaning of leading case in the English Dictionary
  2. ^ A. W. B. Simpson, Leading Cases in the Common Law, Clarendon Press, 1996 [1]
  3. ^ Augustus Henry Frazer Lefroy, Leading Cases in Canadian Constitutional Law. Toronto: Carswell, 1914, p. v.
  4. ^ Michael Pal and Sujit Choudry, "Is Every Ballot Equal? Visible Minority Vote Dilution in Canada", IRPP Choices vol. 13, no. 1 (January 2007), p. 14.
  5. ^ Mabo v Queensland (1989) 166 CLR 186 AustLill

External links

Cause célèbre

A cause célèbre (, , French: [koz selɛbʁ], famous case; plural causes célèbres, pronounced like singular) is an issue or incident arousing widespread controversy, outside campaigning, and heated public debate. The term continues in the media in all senses. It is sometimes used positively for celebrated legal cases for their precedent value (each locus classicus or "case-in-point") and more often negatively for infamous ones, whether for scale, outrage, scandal or conspiracy theories.The term is a French phrase in common usage in English. Since it has been fully adopted into English and is included unitalicized in English dictionaries, it is not normally italicized despite its French origin.

In French, cause means, here, a legal case, and célèbre means "famous". The phrase originated with the 37-volume Nouvelles Causes Célèbres, published in 1763, which was a collection of reports of well-known French court decisions from the 17th and 18th centuries.

While English speakers had used the phrase for many years, it came into much more common usage after the 1894 conviction of Alfred Dreyfus for espionage during the cementing of a period of deep cultural ties with a political tie between England and France, the Entente Cordiale. Both attracted worldwide interest and the period of closeness or rapprochement officially broadened the English language.

It has been noted that the public attention given to a particular case or event can obscure the facts rather than clarify them. As one observer states, "The true story of many a cause célèbre is never made manifest in the evidence given or in the advocates' orations, but might be recovered from these old papers when the dust of ages has rendered them immune from scandal".

Landmark cases (disambiguation)

Landmark cases may refer to:

Lists of landmark court decisions

List of landmark court decisions in the United States

Landmark cases of the Supreme Court of Japan

Landmark Cases: Historic Supreme Court Decisions, a C-SPAN series

Landmark Cases in the Law of Contract, a 2008 book edited by Charles Mitchell and Paul Mitchell

Landmark Cases in Equity, a 2012 book edited by Charles Mitchell and Paul Mitchell

Landmark Cases in Family Law, a 2011 book edited by Stephen Gilmore, Jonathan Herring, and Rebecca Probert

Landmark Cases in the Law of Tort, a 2010 book edited by Charles Mitchell and Paul Mitchell

Landmark Cases in the Law of Restitution, a 2006 book edited by Charles Mitchell and Paul Mitchell

List of landmark court decisions in the United States

For other landmark cases lists, see Lists of landmark court decisionsThe following is a partial list of landmark court decisions in the United States. Landmark decisions establish a significant new legal principle or concept or otherwise that substantially changes the interpretation of existing law. Such a decision may settle the law in more than one way:

distinguishing a new principle that refines a prior principle, thus departing from prior practice without violating the rule of stare decisis;

establishing a "test" or a measurable standard that can be applied by courts in future decisions.In the United States, landmark court decisions come most frequently from the Supreme Court. United States courts of appeals may also make such decisions, particularly if the Supreme Court chooses not to review the case or if it adopts the holding of the lower court, such as in Smith v. Collin. Although many cases from state supreme courts are significant in developing the law of that state, only a few are so revolutionary that they announce standards that many other state courts then choose to follow.

List of lists of lists

This is a list of articles that are lists of list articles on the English Wikipedia. In other words, each of the articles linked here is an index to multiple lists on a topic. Some of the linked articles are themselves lists of lists of lists. This article is also a list of lists.

Assisted
suicide
Euthanasia/
Withholding
treatment
Medical opinion against
parent/patient/guardian
Informed consent
to treatment
Research

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