AuthorRobert Décary
[  ]
  .   the words, from a land so dear to my f‌irst chief
justice, Frank Iacobucci, that came to mind when I f‌inished reading this
work — a work that describes not just a history, but rather the odyssey of the
Federal Courts from their origin to the present, the long journey through
time and into the heart of the law of these courts, which would inevitably
exist in controversy. ey came. ey saw. ey conquered. And, I would
add, they survived.
e Federal Courts did not have an easy start. ere were political
disputes about their creation and repeated attacks against their jurisdic-
tion by the Supreme Court of Canada. e existence of the Federal Courts
was questioned by lawyers in British Columbia, followed by the Canadian
Bar Association. ey had to contend with indigestible procedural rule
and abstract, impractical, inconsistent legislative distinctions between the
respective roles of the Appeal Division and the Trial Division, which baed
both litigants and the judges themselves, generating considerable expenses
and losses in time, energy, and funds. Appointments were too often tainted
by political partisanship; political past should not in itself be an obstacle to
an appointment — on the contrary, it is generally an asset when it comes to
exercising the power of judicial review over government acts — but that was a
time when the number of former federal cabinet members among the judges
of the Federal Courts could have given rise to fears of politicization.
To be frank, since their beginnings, the Federal Courts have been the
black sheep of the Canadian judicial system, as they disrupted its calm

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