Firm News | Feb 20, 2019

Success at the Supreme Court of Canada

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On February 14, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in R. v. Jarvis, a case concerning the scope of the voyeurism offence under the Criminal Code. The issue before the Court was the interpretation of the words “reasonable expectation of privacy” in the context of that offence, and in particular, whether students enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy not to be surreptitiously recorded while in school. Jonathan Lisus and Zain Naqi acted on behalf of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which intervened in the appeal. They argued that, following the Charter’s section 8 jurisprudence, the concept of “reasonable expectation of privacy” must be given a broad, contextual interpretation that affirms individuals’ privacy rights, even if public or quasi-public spaces. The Supreme Court’s decision adopted this interpretation, recognizing that “‘[p]rivacy’, as ordinarily understood, is not an all-or-nothing concept, and being in a public or semi-public space does not automatically negate all expectations of privacy with respect to observation or recording.” The decision can be found here: https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/17515/index.do.