The Supreme Court and the Conventions of the Constitution

(2017) 78 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 31

18 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

Date Written: May 25, 2017


Conventions are among the most important rules of the Canadian constitution. Yet orthodox legal theory does not recognize them as being rules of law, a view which the Supreme Court of Canada endorsed in the Patriation Reference. Nevertheless, both before and after the Patriation Reference, the Court's jurisprudence engaged with existing or alleged constitutional conventions. This article reviews this jurisprudence, and the scholarly commentary that responded to it. It concludes that the Court's endorsement of the orthodox view that there exists a rigid separation between conventions and law was poorly justified, and ought to be abandoned.

Keywords: Constitutional conventions, Canada, Dicey, Patriation Reference

Suggested Citation

Sirota, Leonid, The Supreme Court and the Conventions of the Constitution (May 25, 2017). (2017) 78 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 31, Available at SSRN:

Leonid Sirota (Contact Author)

AUT Law School ( email )

AUT City Campus
Private Bag 92006
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand
+64 9 921 9999 ext 5531 (Phone)


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