Rethinking the Process/Substance Distinction: Baker V. Canada
David Dyzenhaus, Evan Fox-Decent RETHINKING THE PROCESS/SUBSTANCE DISTINCTION BAKER V. CANADA, The University of Toronto Law Journal, Vol. 51, No. 3, pp. 193-242, 2001
51 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2008 Last revised: 22 Nov 2015
The authors argue that in Baker v. Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada set out a unified theory of judicial review which seeks to rest review on substantive ideals related to fundamental values such as human rights and the best interests of children. The Court's reliance on substantive criteria to guide review places stress on the traditional process/substance distinction under which reviewing courts would generally review procedural matters with some intensity, but would resist reviewing the substance or merits of a decision with the same intensity. The authors argue that the newfound stress on the process/substance distinction is welcome, and to some extent can be mitigated, because the reasons underlying review of procedure equally justify review of cases in which human rights and other fundamental values are at stake.
Keywords: judicial review, process, substance, human rights, fundamental values, best interests of children, convention on the rights of the child, immigration, rule of law, principle of legality
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