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Law Case Studies

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Figuring out the law is a very complicated matter as not many cases are simply black and white. In fact, most cases have areas that are not very clear and it is helpful to utilize the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in clearing up these gray areas. In the case Ford v. Quebec, the gray area was defined by a language barrier. Also the case pertaining to abortion which was R v. Morgentaler, Smoling and Scott, was not so clear-cut as it raised the question of who has the right to security of a person as well as liberty. Lastly the case R v. Ladouceur involving the cops was a really conflicting case in that it was unclear whether the cops had the rights in this instance or Ladouceur. In all three cases the Charter became a significant tool in clearing up the gray areas and defining the boundaries in which the law operates. Although the Criminal Code of Canada is also a very good guide, however it does not always contain all the necessary precedents and guidelines that are needed to clarify a case. This is simply because there are always new types of cases, with different situations and circumstances which may come up. That is why the Criminal Code is sometimes not enough to help define the true facts of the case, and that is where the Charter comes into play. Also the Charter is very important when it comes to protecting the rights of the individual. Section 1 of the Charter is very helpful and clear in defining the limits of the law as well as an individuals freedoms, and plays a key role in clearing up these particular cases and helping the Supreme Court of Canada arrive at their decisions, which are meant to protect the best interests of society.

In the case Ford v. Quebec, Valerie Ford was a business owner in Quebec who had put a sign up in both the French and English language in the province of Quebec (Alexandrowicz, Pg 196). The problem here was that under Bill 101, public signs were only to be hung in the French language unless they involved some sort of health or safety issue (Alexandrowicz, Pg 196). Ford was given a warning by the language commission, but refused to change her sign claiming that it infringed on her freedom of expression that was guaranteed to her in section 2 (b) of the Charter and the case went to court on that basis (Alexandrowicz, pg 196). Ford won the case in the first trial as well as the appeals court and the Attorney General took the case all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada (Alexandrowicz, pg 196). The gray area in this circumstance is that although section 2 (b) of the charter guarantees individuals the freedom of expression, does it guarantee them the freedom to express themselves in a language of personal choice and in a commercial setting, rather than only a political setting? Section 1 of the charter claims that everyone is guaranteed the freedoms stated in the Charter as long as they are within reasonable boundaries. It is not unreasonable for someone to express themselves in a different language whether is be in a business setting or not, therefore Section 1 of the Charter is in no effect here because ford is acting within reasonable limits and not infringing upon anyone else's rights.

In the end the evidence presented by the Attorney General did not prove that the use of only French in signs was necessary for legislative purposes (Alexandrowicz, pg 197). The Supreme Court, taking this fact into consideration ruled that freedom of expression includes the freedom to express oneself in the language of one's choice and deemed two sections of Bill 101 as no longer being in effect (Alexandrowicz, pg 197). This choice was in the best interest of society because as a growing society Canada is becoming even more multicultural, which means that there are going to be many different types of people with different backgrounds, wanting to express themselves in their own languages. It is not reasonable to make them suppress themselves and their culture in a business or political environment and therefore the ruling of the court was very fair and just, and is in agreement with Section 1 of the Charter.

In the next case the Charter was far less clear in deciding whether or not the reasonable limits test applied in this instance, although it did get the job done. In the case of R v. Morgentaler, Smoling and Scott, the three doctors in question had illegal abortion clinics open and were providing this service without the permission of the courts; particular emphasis is given to Dr. Henry Morgentaler regarding the illegal abortions (Primary Source Document). At the time of this ruling, in order for a women to have an abortion she was to present her case to a hospital committee, and they would then decide if she could have an abortion or not (Primary Source Document). Unfortunately this law made it very hard for most women to get abortions (Primary Source Document) and at many times it would take the committee quite a while to make a decision which would often lead to the mother passing her term and was no longer able to get an abortion. The gray areas of this case are whether or not a mother should be able to decide the faith of her unborn child and does Section 7 of the Charter, which guarantees the security of a person as well as liberty, apply to a pregnant women? The fact that a woman must present her case in front of a committee violates her right to security of a person as well as liberty and that is why this case is unclear because it is hard to tell if it is reasonable or not for a committee to decide whether or not a woman should have an abortion. The fact is that a woman has a right to security and fundamental justice, and Section 287 of the Criminal Code violates that right when it requires someone else to pass judgment on the nature of a woman. Section 1 of the Charter was used in this case to clarify part of the issue because it was deemed unreasonable for a committee to decide whether it was right for a woman to have an abortion or not and so Section 287 of the Criminal Code was no longer in effect (Talos). However the actual debate on abortion and whether or not it is acceptable is still ongoing and there is currently no abortion law in Canada, although it is generally



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