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Judges biased: Study

<p>A judge’s political stripe and gender have a significant impact on their rulings in certain types of cases in the Ontario Court of Appeal, says a new study that rocks the belief in judicial impartiality.</p>




A judge’s political stripe and gender have a significant impact on their rulings in certain types of cases in the Ontario Court of Appeal, says a new study that rocks the belief in judicial impartiality.





“The assumption that this study challenges is one of the bedrock assumptions in our legal system,” said James Stribopoulos, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and study co-author. “I think most lawyers would tell you that ‘it depends on the judge.’ But this proves that it definitely does.”





A judge’s gender became most pertinent in family law disputes. When men appeal a ruling, all-male panels were statistically slightly kinder to female litigants. Litigants who were successfully acquitted on a Charter challenge were 10 per cent more likely to get that acquittal affirmed by a panel with at least one female judge — at 87 per cent — than they were with an all-male panel, at 70 per cent.















Differing opinions



  • The study found that judges differed in opinion on Charter challenges, depending on whether Liberals or Conservatives appointed them. The study also traced divergent opinions to a judge’s gender in family law cases.



 
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