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Supreme Court Law Review (2d)

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Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Legal Rights; Sexual Harassment; Sexual History Evidence


In 2000, the Supreme Court of Canada decided four cases which raised claims concerning some of the legal rights provisions of the Charter. Two of the cases were criminal: R. v. Darrach, [2000] 2 S.C.R. 443; R. v. Morrisey, [2000] 2 S.C.R. 90. The other two cases involved a human rights investigation (Blencoe v. British Columbia (Human Rights Commission), [2000] 2 S.C.R. 307), and a child protection proceeding (Winnipeg Child and Family Services v. K.L.W., [2000] 2 S.C.R. 519). This comment focuses on two of these decisions (Blencoe and Darrach) where the SCC considered claims under section 7 of the Charter in the context of proceedings important to women's equality. Both of these cases demonstrate a commitment on the part of the Court to contextualize the interpretation of legal rights to take into account interests beyond those of the immediate parties to the case. In this paper, the author argues that this trend is justifiable in both the human rights and the criminal contexts at issue in these appeals.