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Appeal-Judicial Review - Reasons - 'Read Generously'

. Hemmings v. Peng

In Hemmings v. Peng (Ont CA, 2024) the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed an appeal from a medical malpractice case, here where a pregnant patient had a heart attack during surgery resulting in brain damage.

Here the court considers the adequacy of reasons, focusing on the principle of 'reading them generously':

[190] In reviewing the trial judge’s reasons to assess the various grounds of appeal advanced by the appellants, I have attempted to read those reasons in the most generous way reasonably possible in the circumstances, drawing heavily on the record to inform that review. I understand that to be the approach appellate courts should take to implement the teachings of the Supreme Court of Canada about the sufficiency of reasons, recently summarized in R. v. G.F., 2021 SCC 20, [2021] S.C.R. 801. In that case, at paras. 69 and 70, the Supreme Court stated that when it is alleged a trial judge’s reasons are insufficient, an appellate court:
. must read those reasons in a functional and contextual manner;

. eschewing any fine parsing of the trial judge’s reasons in a search for error;

. instead, assessing whether the reasons, read in context and as a whole, in light of the live issues at trial, explain what the trial judge decided and why they decided that way in a manner that permits effective appellate review; and

. when assessing the sufficiency of a trial judge’s reasons, an appellate court must review the record because if the trial reasons do not explain the “what” and the “why”, but the answers to those questions are clear in the record, there will be no error. [Emphasis added].


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Last modified: 14-05-24
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