A Primer on International Law and the Canadian Charter
National Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 21, p. 313, 2006
21 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2013
Date Written: 2006
This paper sets out the basic structure of public international law and the issues of constitutional significance that arise in analyzing its influence upon our domestic legal system. It first defines public international law and examines its formal and informal sources. It then explains the basic framework for the domestic application of international law, which is called a reception system. It outlines the Canadian reception system, which evolved from the British model and is characterized by a constitutional separation between treaty-making and treaty-implementation between the executive and legislature. It also discusses the treaty presumption and other forms of statutory interpretation. Finally, the paper looks at the use of international law to interpret the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982 and traces several arguments that the courts use to explain this relationship. At the end of the paper, a list of “further readings” on the subject is provided.
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