Divine Intervention, Part I: A Study of the Operation and Impact of Non-Governmental Interveners in Canadian Religious Freedom Litigation
(2019) 90 SCLR (2d) Forthcoming
30 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2019
Date Written: January 22, 2019
In June 2017, the authors began a two-year project to explore the role that interveners play in Canadian cases involving religious freedom claims. While the role of amici curiae in the United States has been extensively studied, far less is known about the operation or impact of interveners in Canada. The project employs a range of methodologies to address the following questions: (1) When and how do non-governmental actors intervene in cases involving religious freedom claims? (2) How do these interveners influence the judicial development of constitutional norms? (3) What are the implications of the collected evidence for theories of whether and how interventions are valuable to the adjudication of constitutional claims? Our early quantitative analysis confirms the frequent intervention of a limited number of non-governmental actors in religious freedom litigation in Canada, along with the infrequent intervention of a larger and more diverse group of non-governmental actors. Our early qualitative analysis lends modest support to the view that interveners affect the quality of judicial decisions on religious freedom in Canada. This paper offers a first report of our findings, and a discussion of questions that remain.
Keywords: Religious Freedom, Public Interest Litigation, NGO Participation, Intervention, Amicus Curiae
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