Interpreting the Charter
P. Oliver, P. Macklem & N. Des Rosiers, eds, The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017) at 621-638.
18 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2017 Last revised: 29 Nov 2018
Date Written: January 15, 2017
This chapter examines the judicial approach to the interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Attention is paid to the general interpretive techniques developed by the courts to determine both the content of Charter rights and their limitations, while also considering the judicial use of internal and external interpretive aids, including both foreign and international law. It is also argued that the national context plays an important role, with the interpretive role of the court ultimately to be guided by a sense of balance in protecting rights and recognizing their limitations. Please cite to published version once available in October 2017.
Keywords: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, interpretation, national context, internal aids, interpretive techniques, external aids, foreign law, international law, role of the court
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