Court status and initial submissions

First, a note on case status and scheduling. We don’t know yet how long this case will take. Here are the due dates we have from the court for various filings:

  • June 8, 2010: Evidence from Amicus and Interested Persons in support of the position that s. 293 violates any of the rights or freedoms enshrined in the Charter;
  • July 16, 2010: Evidence from AGBC, AG Canada, and Interested Persons opposing the position that s. 293 violates Charter rights, and/or supporting the position that any violation is a justified infringement under s. 1;
  • September 30, 2010: Evidence from Amicus and Interested Persons opposing the position that a violation is justified under s. 1.

There may or may not be more motions and other filings that may affect the scheduling of the case. The court will presumably need to schedule hearings, and is free to take as much time as it feels appropriate to decide once all the argument is done. There’s been a media report that the court has told the attorneys to block off time for the case around the end of the year; I haven’t verified that with our chief counsel.

Even after the decision, it’s entirely possible that there’ll be appeals; two levels of appeals will be available. We have no way of knowing whether anybody will try to appeal the decision, or whether the appellate courts will choose to hear the case.

So it’s hard to say how long this will take overall.

Second, some of you have asked to see what the CPAA submitted when we applied to intervene back in January. We thought we’d go one better. We have the affidavits containing initial position summaries from most of those involved. Unfortunately, there is as yet no outline of the arguments to be presented by the court-appointed amicus who will be the primary advocate against Section 293, but everybody else is represented to some degree or another. So here they are. No summaries and no comments; we don’t want to make a mistake and be accused of misrepresenting anybody.

First ours:

Now the BC Attorney General’s office. The AG will be making the primary defense of Section 293. This summary is a little different from the others, because it’s not part of an application to intervene. The AG is a party to the case and had no need to prove suitability to be involved, so this is closer to pure argument.

… and now everybody else in alphabetical order. All the individuals and groups listed below, except for Winston Blackmore, were allowed to participate in the case after these were filed. Mr. Blackmore has asked to be accepted as a full party to the case, rather than as an intervener/interested party. There’s been no decision on that, although one may be forthcoming soon.

Happy reading. And for reference, here’s the section at issue, slightly reformatted to make the HTML easier:



  1. Every one who
    1. practises or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practise or enter into
      1. any form of polygamy, or
      2. any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time,

      whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or

    2. celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii),
    3. is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

    Evidence in case of polygamy
  2. Where an accused is charged with an offence under this section, no averment or proof of the method by which the alleged relationship was entered into, agreed to or consented to is necessary in the indictment or on the trial of the accused, nor is it necessary on the trial to prove that the persons who are alleged to have entered into the relationship had or intended to have sexual intercourse.

4 responses so far.

  1. jbash says:

    This just in: the AG’s brief on the legislative history of the law. This lets you see its evolution over time. Apparently they will be providing supporting documents, which I believe will include summaries of the debates. Those will be posted when they’re available.

  2. jbash says:

    This is the lead article on our site at the moment, so I’ll summarize a couple of other updates posted on the blog after this one was written

    The court has refused to give Winston Blackmore full party status or to award him funding. He’s dropped out of the case, saying that he doesn’t have the money to participate. We’re still hearing from him in the press, though.

    The two Catholic organizations, COLF and the BC/Yukon Knights of Columbus, have dropped out of the case.

  3. Sandra Billings says:

    Section 293 1B…Saskatchewan family law courts have twice declared single men to be the same time spouses of already married women.. is this “assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii), “..? If this is illegal why aren’t the Saskatchewan judges charged with polygamy?

    Section 1A… twice in Saskatchewan women have claimed in court to be conjugal partners (as in married state) with single men.They said the single men were their husbands too. The Saskatchewan Family law judges said they were all same time spouses..that divorces are not needed to get more spouses. One judge suggested four was a good number of spouses for a person to have although more could be had at same time. No religeous arguments raised at all. Saskatchewan Attorney General and Family court Judges denied mens desire to have intervenors and paid- for representation to defend that they had the consitutional right to NOT be the spouse of a married person..

  4. Sandra Billings says:

    corerction…”twice in Saskatchewan MARRIED women have claimed in court to be conjugal partners (as in married state) with single men

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