Governing from the Bench: The Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Role by Emmett Macfarlane

Governing from the Bench: The Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Role

byEmmett Macfarlane

Paperback | July 1, 2013

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As Canada’s final court of appeal, the Supreme Court is a crucial component of the country’s legal system. Yet, for much of its almost 140-year history, the highest court in the land dwelled in relative obscurity. More than thirty years since the advent of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which transformed the court’s function and thrust its work into the national spotlight, many of us are still in the dark about the Supreme Court’s role -- in part because there has been relatively little empirical investigation into how the institution works.

In Governing from the Bench, Emmett Macfarlane draws on interviews with current and former justices, law clerks, and other staff members of the court to shed light on the institution’s internal environment and decision-making processes. He explores the complex role of the Supreme Court as an institution; exposes the rules, conventions, and norms that shape and constrain its justices’ behaviour; and situates the court in its broader governmental and societal context, as it relates to the elected branches of government, the media, and the public. At once enlightening and engaging, Governing from the Bench is a much-needed and comprehensive exploration of an institution that touches the lives of all Canadians.

About The Author

Emmett Macfarlane is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo.
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Title:Governing from the Bench: The Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial RoleFormat:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.64 inPublished:July 1, 2013Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774823518

ISBN - 13:9780774823517

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1 Studying Judicial Behaviour

2 The Evolution of the Court and Its Justices

3 Setting the Stage: Exploring Court Processes Leading to Decisions

4 The Decision: Collegiality, Conflict, and Consensus

5 A Question of Competence: Examining Judicial Policy Making

6 The Court in Government and Society: Dialogue, Public Opinion, and the Media

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

In Governing from the Bench, Emmett Macfarlane demystifies the inner workings of the Supreme Court of Canada. Drawing on interviews with current and former justices, law clerks, and other staff members of the court, Macfarlane sheds light on the institution’s internal environment and decision-making processes. He explores the complex role of the Supreme Court as an institution; exposes the rules, conventions, and norms that shape and constrain its justices’ behaviour; and situates the court in a broader governmental and societal context. At once enlightening and engaging, Governing from the Bench is a much-needed and comprehensive exploration of an institution that touches the lives of all Canadians.Providing fresh material -- including interviews with justices and law clerks -- within a role-based framework, Emmett Macfarlane paints a very clear picture of the Supreme Court as an institution. - Lawrence Baum, Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University