Legal Word of the Day: “Contextual”

Renoir, La Lecture

Renoir, La Lecture

“Contextual” — In contract law, context refers to the language that precedes and follows a sentence or clause. These words may be scrutinized to help determine the intent of an ambiguous clause.

In Charter cases, a “contextual analysis” includes a determination by the court of whether a deprivation of life, liberty, or security of the person has occurred, in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

Relevant Cases include:

Khadr v. Canada, 2004 FC 1394 (CanLII)
“It is the balancing of principles that occurs under s. 7 of the Charter that lends significance to a given factual context in determining whether the principle against self-incrimination has been violated.”

Canada v. Seaboard Lumber Sales Co., 1995 CanLII 3604 (FCA), [1995] 3 FC 113,
Ambiguity may arise out of the consideration of any manner or variety of contextual factors; it should not be taken as a necessary precondition to looking to those factors.

Withler v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 SCC 12 (CanLII), [2011] 1 SCR 396
“The central and sustained thrust of the Court’s s. 15(1) jurisprudence has been the need for a substantive contextual approach and a corresponding repudiation of a formalistic “treat likes alike” approach.”

Suggested by paralegal Tracey Gauley

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