The Carter appeal

The collection of videos on this page shows the full hearing of Carter v. Canada (Attorney-General), 2013 BCCA 435. The BC Court of Appeal heard the constitutional challenge to the criminal law prohibiting physician-assisted death, from March 18-22, 2013.

This new teacher resource allows a rare glimpse into BC Court of Appeal proceedings. Students will see how lawyers introduce their case, challenge facts, argue legal positions and answer questions from the judges.

Section 241 (b) of the Criminal Code says that everyone who aids or abets a person in committing suicide commits an indictable offence, and s. 14 says that no person may consent to death being inflicted on him or her. Together, these provisions prohibit the provision of assistance in dying in Canada. The Carter appeal challenged the legality of these laws and the BC Court of Appeal ruled that... (read the judgment.)

On Febrary 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada, in a unanimous decision, struck down the prohibition on physician-assisted dying, explaining these laws violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Read the Supreme Court of Canada Carter decision.

 

Day 1

 

Case called to order

20:35

Introductions

21:33

Canada’s opening statement

24:00

Overview of Canada’s argument

28:30

Review of trial order

30:06

Summary of Canada’s position on  trial order

39:50

Review of legislative history of Criminal Code prohibition against assisted death

41:40

Review of prohibitions in other jurisdictions

49:50

Canada’s argument on stare decisis (whether previously decided case law is binding)

1:02:40

Morning break

1:30:00

Canada’s stare decisis argument continued

1:51:20

Canada’s argument on the Charter

2:19:50

Canada’s position on legislative purpose of Criminal Code prohibition

2:23:30

Canada’s s. 7 argument (life, liberty and security of the person)

2:41:38

Lunch break

2:48:18

Canada’s s. 7 argument (life, liberty and security of the person) continued

4:22:39

Principles of fundamental justice in s. 7 analysis

4:50:30

Canada’s position on trial judge’s error in s. 7 analysis (“Reasonable Apprehension of Harm”)

5:05:50

Afternoon break

5:19:00

Discussion of “Reasonable Apprehension of Harm” continued

5:37:20

Day 2

 

Case called to order

9:13

Review of evidence on “Reasonable Apprehension of Harm” continued

9:46

Morning break

1:10:24

Review of trial judge’s “Overbreadth” analysis

1:32:50

Canada’s argument on lack of clarity in order

1:39:50

Review of trial judge’s “Gross Disproportionality” analysis

1:42:24

Canada’s s. 15 Charter argument (equality)

1:54:42

Canada’s s. 1 Charter argument (justification)

2:27:10

Lunch break

2:36:07

S. 1 Charter argument (justification) continued

4:10:06

Canada’s argument on procedural issues

4:22:43

Canada’s argument on expedited filing times

4:23:14

Canada’s argument on Respondent’s reply submissions at trial

4:27:38

Impact of procedural issues

4:32:33

Summary of Canada’s arguments

4:46:17

Schedule of intervenors supporting Canada’s position

4:49:50

Intervenor - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

4:41:01

Afternoon break

5:10:04

Intervenor - Christian Legal Fellowship

5:26:56

Intervenor - Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

5:40:18

Intervenor - Council of Canadians with Disabilities and Canadian Association for Community Living

5:51:49

Day 3

 

Case called to order

9:13

Overview of Respondent’s argument

9:13

Respondent’s opening statement

12:00

Legitimacy of judicial review of fairness of procedure

12:40

Summary of points not challenged by Canada

38:25

Summary of points challenged by Canada and Respondent’s position

1:02:30

Summary of Respondent’s position on “Reasonable Apprehension of Harm” standard

1:18:00

Morning break

1:20:30

Respondent’s position on stare decisis issue (whether previously decided case law is binding)

1:38:40

Extent to which trial judge was bound by Rodriguez decision

1:40:39

Lunch break

2:38:51

Discussion of Rodriguez continued

4:08:30

Respondent’s position on s. 7 “Reasonable Apprehension of Harm” standard

4:21:00

History of use of “Reasonable Apprehension of Harm” standard

4:23:15

Respondent’s position on legislative purpose of Criminal Code prohibition against assisted death

4:26:15

Review of evidence regarding end of life measures

4:41:47

Respondent on Canada’s submission that law must result in no “wrongful deaths”

5:03:00

Afternoon break

5:10:18

Continuing discussion of Canada’s “zero tolerance” approach to law

5:30:00

“Zero tolerance” argument as it applies to minimal impairment

5:44:00

Respondent begins s. 15 Charter argument (equality)

5:50:00

Day 4

 

Case called to order

12:55

Respondent returns to “Reasonable Apprehension of Harm” - hypothetical of blanket prohibition of all end of life measures

13:20

Minimal impairment test

33:30

Respondent’s s. 15 Charter argument (equality) continued

43:50

Discussion of Law decision - contextual factors

54:10

Respondent’s summary of cross-appeal

1:26:31

Morning break

1:28:03

Respondent begins “Overbreadth” and “Gross Disproportionality” argument

1:47:15

Outline of “Overbreadth” argument

1:51:45

Overview of factual findings and evidentiary issues

2:11:40

Lunch break

2:37:25

Evidentiary issues continued (specifically re “LAWER”, life-ending actions without explicit request)

4:12:40

Discussion on the “perfect doctor construct”

4:39:02

Discussion on “unconscious bias”

5:01:50

Afternoon break

5:13:30

Discussion on depression

5:32:30

Submissions on other evidentiary issues continued

5:49:50

Day 5

 

Case called to order

11:50

Overview of Respondent’s remaining submissions

13:12

Final discussion on “Overbreadth” and evidentiary issues

19:30

Respondent’s position on “Gross Disproportionality”

24:20

Respondent’s position on ethics

40:40

Respondent’s position on parity as a new principle of fundamental justice

59:10

Morning break

1:14:55

Respondent’s s. 1 Charter argument (justification) and return to “Reasonable Apprehension of Harm”

1:31:52

Intervenor - Alliance of People with Disabilities

1:56:58

Intervenor - Farewell Foundation

2:06:45

Intervenor - Canadian Unitarian Council

2:18:22

Respondent’s final s. 1 Charter argument (justification)

2:28:05

Lunch break

2:37:00

Canada’s reply on stare decisis (whether previously decided case law is binding)

3:55:12

Canada’s reply on s. 7 and “Reasonable Apprehension of Harm”

4:07:29

Canada’s reply on “Gross Disproportionality”

4:33:00

Canada’s reply on evidentiary issues

4:36:18

Canada’s reply on parity

5:07:30

Afternoon break

5:12:55

Canada’s submissions on special costs

5:29:55

British Columbia’s submissions on special costs

5:39:10

Respondent’s submissions on special costs

6:12:30