Saturday, August 11, 2007

Judicial Bias on the Ontario Court of Appeal?

York University's Ylife reports on a strong suggestion of judicial predisposition, based on research by two Canadian law professors, James Stribopoulos of Osgoode Hall Law School and Moin Yahya of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law:
A new study by two law professors says two factors appear to influence the outcome of certain cases – which political party appointed the judge and the judge’s gender.

...Stribopoulos and Yahya looked at every reported decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal – Canada’s busiest appellate court – between 1990 and 2003 and collected data on votes cast by individual judges. Each case was categorized – as criminal or constitutional law, for example – and tracked based on variables such as the type of litigant, the political party that appointed the judge, and the judge’s gender.

"There is an assumption, mostly embraced by the Canadian legal establishment that, unlike their American counterparts, Canadian judges are apolitical in their judging," Stribopoulos says. "Our study empirically evaluated that assumption by analyzing over 4,000 reported judgments of the Ontario Court of Appeal over a 12-year period. In the process, we also decided to consider the potential influence of a judge's gender on case outcomes. The result, in a nutshell, is that – at least in some categories of cases – party of appointment and gender did indeed matter to case outcomes."

(h/t - Michael Fata)
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto
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