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Simon Shields, Lawyer

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Since 2005

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Orders - Reasons for Judgment

R v Sliwka (Ont CA, 2017)

In this criminal case the Court of Appeal sets out the purpose of Reasons for Judgment in trials:
[24] Trial judges must give reasons for their verdicts. Reasons that explain to the parties and the public the result arrived at by the trial judge are crucial to maintaining the proper level of transparency and accountability essential to the maintenance of the integrity of the trial process and public confidence in that process. Reasons for judgment allow the parties to know that their claims have been heard, understood and adjudicated upon in an objective and reasonable fashion that accords with the applicable legal principles: see R. v. Sheppard, 2002 SCC 26 (CanLII), [2002] 1 S.C.R. 869, at paras. 15, 22, 24.

[25] On an appeal based on the trial judge’s failure to give reasons, the appellate court measures the adequacy of the reasons against the requirement that the reasons permit meaningful appellate review of the trial decision. If the reasons serve that function, any shortcomings from a due administration of justice perspective, do not justify appellate intervention. However, reasons that frustrate meaningful appellate review constitute an error in law. That error requires the quashing of the verdict unless the trial record as a whole permits effective appellate review of the verdict: see Sheppard, at paras. 25-33, 46.

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