News Release

2014 Lenczner Slaght/CBA Gale Cup Moot Takes Place Feb. 21-22

February 20, 2014 (Toronto)

The 2014 Lenczner Slaght/Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Gale Cup Moot, one of Canada's most prestigious bilingual law school mooting competitions, takes place February 21-22 at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, with 19 law schools from across Canada participating.

Founded in 1974, the Lenczner Slaght/CBA Gale Cup Moot (formerly the Gale Cup) provides top law students across the country with the chance to argue a Constitutional law case before three judge panels hearing a mock appeal from a real-world decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. Judges from across Canada make up the judging panels. Alumni of the Gale Cup include some of Canada's best known lawyers and most respected legal minds, such as Justice Thomas Cromwell of the Supreme Court of Canada, who won the Gale Cup Moot in 1976.

The competition will open with a special welcome reception in the lobby of Lenczner Slaght's offices on Friday, February 21. "Our sponsorship of the Gale Cup Moot reflects our commitment to the development of young advocates," said Peter H. Griffin, Managing Partner of Lenczner Slaght. "There is no substitute for the arena as a place to learn litigation skills." 

Tom Heintzman of Toronto, a past president of the CBA, is attending on behalf of the Association.  "By giving students from across the country the opportunity to participate in a world-renowned bilingual competition, we are helping them not only to hone their advocacy skills, but also to develop the expertise they need to succeed their careers. We are proud to support the lawyers of the future."

In addition to the Gale Cup and other team and individual awards, the McLachlin Prize will be awarded to the best female mooter on Saturday, February 22 at Osgoode Hall. Justice Andromache Karakatsanis of the Supreme Court of Canada will deliver the after-dinner keynote address at the gala awards banquet.

This year's case is R. v. N.S., 2012 SCC 72, [2012] 3 SCR 726, which addresses whether a witness may be required to remove her niqab while testifying. In that case, two accused were charged with sexually assaulting N.S., a Muslim woman.

At the Supreme Court of Canada, in reasons by McLachlin C.J. (Deschamps, Fish and Cromwell JJ. concurring), a majority of the Court held that a witness who for sincere religious reasons wishes to wear the niqab while testifying in a criminal proceeding will nonetheless be required to remove it if:

  • requiring the niqab to be removed is necessary to prevent a serious risk to trial fairness, because reasonably available alternative measures will not prevent the risk; and
  • the salutary effects of requiring that the niqab to be removed outweigh the deleterious effects of doing so.

Justices LeBel and Rothstein concurred with the result reached by the Majority, but preferred an outright prohibition on wearing the niqab at any point in a criminal proceeding. 

In dissent, Abella J. held that a witness should only be required to remove the niqab where her identity is directly in issue. In so holding, she emphasized the potential chilling effect requiring a witness to remove her niqab could have on reporting of crimes.

Students taking part in the Lenczner Slaght/CBA Gale Cup Moot are permitted to moot in either English or French, with simultaneous translation provided for oral arguments.

The 2014 judging panel will be released shortly before the event commences. All events are open to accredited media.  To obtain accreditation, please contact Jessica Lim of Lenczner Slaght at 416-865-3700.

For more information on the Lenczner Slaght/CBA Gale Cup Moot, visit www.galecupmoot.com

About Canadian Bar Association

As the voice and advocate of the Canadian legal profession, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is dedicated to supporting the rule of law, protecting the core values of the profession, and improving the administration of justice in Canada and around the world. With more than 37,500 members across Canada – including lawyers, law teachers and law students – and offices in each province and territory, the CBA enhances the influence of the profession by providing a platform to showcase talents through participation in legislative and legal reform. In its leadership role, the CBA serves the business interests of lawyers through the delivery of accredited professional development programs.