Taking Judicial Notice: What Can the Justice System Learn from Stories? – Part 1 (17:17)

1:30 – 4:00  Taking Judicial Notice: What Can the Justice System Learn from Stories?


  • The Honourable Judge Gerald M. Morin, Saskatchewan Provincial Court (Prince Albert)


  • Professor John Borrows, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

In R. v. Ipeelee 2012 SCC 13, Lebel J., speaking for the Court, stated: “Courts have, at times, been hesitant to take judicial notice of the systemic and background factors affecting Aboriginal people in Canadian society…To be clear, courts must take judicial notice of such matters as the history of colonialism, displacement, and residential schools and how that history continues to translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and of course higher levels of incarceration for Aboriginal peoples.”

In R. v. Sioui [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1025, Lamer C.J. for the Court approved this passage:“The Court is entitled “to take judicial notice of the facts of history whether past or contemporaneous” as Lord du Parcq said in Monarch Steamship Co., Ld. V. Karlshamns Oljefabriker (A/B), [1949] A.C. 196 at p. 234, [1949] 1 All E.R. 1 at p. 20, and it is entitled to rely on its own historical knowledge and researches, Read v. Bishop of Lincoln, [1892] A.C. 644, Lord Halsbury, L.C., at pp. 652-4.”

Given this legal reality, the question is: what are the limits of judicial notice? And with that question comes another, which is: what is the place for the stories?

1:30 – 2:00  In the Context of Taking Judicial Notice: Why Stories and Personal Experiences Can Assist in Understanding Complex Legal Issues