In Farmer v. Farmer, 2021 ONSS 5913, the wife appealed to the Ontario Supreme Court three awards rendered in a family arbitration.

The Court held per Justice Finlayson that the reasons given by the arbitrator were not sufficient since he had not inter alia explained “what he meant by having taken a ‘liberal’ view of the applicable law”. Without going through all the various views expressed as to the interpretation of statutes, one frequently refers to a “strict” interpretation of the law, and on other occasions to a “liberal” view of the applicable law.

While it is quite clear what is meant by these expressions, it might be wondered whether the law should be construed in a strict or in a liberal way or whether one should rather look at the proper spirit of the law, without any strict or liberal approach to it, with the sole purpose of rendering solid justice.