Accommodation, Freedom of Religion, Distinction between Belief and Conduct, Minimal Impairment of Religion
A case comment is an extended commentary on a particular court case. The purpose of a case comment is to give a writer the opportunity to assess not only how a specific case was disposed of in court, but also to survey the development of that area of the law represented by the selected case and respond critically to the decision made by the court. A case comment should therefore be regarded as a type of interpretative essay which focuses on a particular case, but which is not limited to a simple exposition of its details.
A successful case comment combines description and analysis. The case itself needs to be described succinctly. At the same time the judgment must be analyzed in a critical manner that displays:
– Some sense of the state of the law regarding the issue in question (i.e.: previous case decisions pertaining to religious freedom or “precedents”)
– A commentary on the potential future implications of this decision on both Canadian law and Canadian society, including how it may have influenced particular decisions since this decision (if the case you have chosen was decided some time ago)
– Your own assessment as to whether or not the court was correct in its decision and why.
Two levels to this: a) Was it a good legal decision? (i.e. was decision consistent with Charter as you understand it?) AND b) Was the decision good for society in general/ was it “just”?
THE STRUCTURE OF THE PAPER:
Introduction: Set out the context for the discussion by establishing why a specific case has been selected for commentary. Why is the case important? What is the controversy? What exactly will be focused on in the commentary and what is your argument?
– What are the central issues raised by the case? Explain the conflict.
– What previous court decisions speak to this issue?
– What was the court’s decision? Summarize the reasoning provided for the decision. Summarize the dissenting opinion of the minority (if provided)
– How did this decision relate to previous decisions pertaining to the issue of religious freedom? Has the court affirmed or departed from key precedents? Have court decisions since departed from the precedent set in this case (if applicable)?
– What are the wider legal AND social implications of this decision?
– Do you agree with the court’s decision? Why or why not?