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Constitutional Law Mock Appeal Scenario: Dufour v Canada (Attorney General)

This resource, originally from the OJEN Spring 2014 Charter Chalenge, deals with the constitutionality of physician-assisted suicide. The applicant, Tobin Dufour, has been found Not Criminally Responsible for the murder of his father, and is in custody in a mental health facility. Overwhelmed by guilt, Mr. Dufour seeks doctor assistance in terminating his own life, but the Criminal Code of Canada makes it illegal for a physician to provide this service to patients who are not terminally ill or judged not competent to make this decision. Mr. Dufour thus seeks a declaration that portions of the Code infringe his rights to equality and to liberty and security of the person, and that these violations cannot be saved under section 1 of the Charter.

About the Charter Challenge

As Ontario’s only provincial appellate-level mock hearing, the Charter Challenge has students prepare arguments of Charter issues raised on appeal. While researching their arguments, students have the opportunity to connect online with other students around the province, as well as with lawyer mentors. Their factums are reviewed and finalist teams have the opportunity to argue the issue before a Court of Appeal judge, either in person or through video-conferencing.

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