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Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2007 16:25

From: David Cheifetz

Subject: Causation Conundra Care of Cheifetz


(The alliteration calls for a "K" sound to the "Ch" which, conveniently, is how I mispronounce the surname)


Dear Colleagues:

1. As some of you know, I've convinced the Canadian Bar Association to sponsor a conference whose subject matter is proving causation - factual and "proximate" (until I change that term) - for Canadian lawyers and judges. Gremlins and whatever else permitting, the conference will be in Toronto on June 6 or 13, 2008. A current outline of the program and tentative faculty list follows.



The program has been designed to reflect the change in causation in the Canadian law (common and Quebec law) on causation that seems to be the result of Resurfice v Hanke 2007 SCC 7. The conference is aimed at practitioners and judges. The idea is that practitioners and judges will leave the conference with a better idea of what is needed so that the chances of settlement of cases which should be settled are increased, the chances of the wrong result at trial and the need for appeal(s) are decreased, and there won't be as much need for judges, lawyers and academics to spill ink except in laudatory shades. It might even make teaching the subject to law students easier.

The demonstration appeal will involve arguing a known case which touches on the issues created by Resurfice and might produce a different result under Resurfice. It might well be Snell v Farrell. Think about that for a moment.

The current tentative faculty list:

Moderators (And Opening/Closing Remarks)
Linden JA
Baudouin JA

Demonstration: SCC Bench and Counsel
Peter Cory
Charles Gonthier
Jack Major

Respondent's Counsel: Earl Cherniak
Appellant's Counsel: TBA

Teaching Faculty
Lewis Klar
Mitchell McInnes
Vaughan Black (currently materials/paper supervisor, only)
Patrice Deslauriers
Louise Belanger-Hardy
Russ Brown
Craig Jones
John Swan
Robert Solomon
Stephen Pitel
Jason Neyers
Lara Khoury
Erika Chamberlain
Andrew Botterrell
Lynda Collins
Richard Wright
David Cheifetz


2.      June 6 or 13 are each Friday. Is there enough desire for a symposium on the (ahem) academic - ok, metaphysical - side of things on Saturday June 7 or June 14, 2008? There's lots to discuss, across all of the Anglo-whatever jurisdictions, European law, etc. If so, is there a University of Toronto Faculty of Law faculty-level-lurker willing to undertake the job of attempting to organize the symposium, so it can take place at the U of T and meets all the criteria for an academic symposium?

        If we have the symposium, there'll be a publisher for the papers: Canada's Advocates' Quarterly (Canada Law Book).

3.      Those of you with advanced-enough degrees in law, philosophy or other discipline necessarily? occasionally? requiring the valid application of analytical logic might consider this question. Does Resurfice permit the existence of a reverse onus in either of its but-for or material contribution tests? Answer(s) required by June 2008. The winning entries will get Breakfast in Canada, with the answers scored to the tune of Supertramp's Logical Song (and Breakfast in (North) America, of course).


David Cheifetz



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