Day: August 13, 2014

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

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By Alan Kilpatrick

governingGoverning from the Bench: The Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Role
By Emmett Macfarlane
Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013
234 pp.

The Supreme Court of Canada is a powerful institution and the highest court in the country.  Those interested in learning more about this institution should certainly check out a popular new item in the library – Governing from the Bench: The Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Role by Emmett Macfarlane.  Macfarlane is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and an expert in the field of public policy.

UBC Press describes this exciting new book on its website,

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.

Please stop by the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library in Regina if you are interested in checking out this item. Call Number: KF 8764 .ZA2 M14 2013.  A sample chapter is freely available on the UBC Press website here.


In the Legal Sourcery book review, new, thought-provoking, and notable library resources are reviewed. If you would like to read any of the resources reviewed, please contact our library by email or (306) 569-8020. Let us know if there is a book you would like reviewed.


CBA Legal Research Section

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

As we reported on June 10, the CBA is offering a Legal Research Section in Saskatchewan. The new CBA Section Registration & Program Handbook was circulated with the summer issue of BARNOTES. Please complete and submit the Sections Registration Form enclosed with your copy of BARNOTES or register online. We look forward to seeing you there!