Document Type


Publication Date


Source Publication

Supreme Court Law Review. Volume 5 (1983), p. 369-404.


Canadian constitutional law; Canadian legal history; History of Canada; Sovereignty


Canada is in independent state and has been for many years. Its sovereign status has long been acknowledged by the international community and the courts. So the constitutional manoeuvres that culminated in the enactment of the Constitution Act, 1982, by the British Parliament, must strike any observer as a somewhat puzzling series of events. How can we explain the fact that a sovereign state should consider itself bound to employ the legislature of another sovereign state to secure for itself a new constitution? Underlying this question are a number of fundamental issues going to the foundations of the Canadian legal system. These issues concern the independence of Canada, the autonomy of its legal system, the basic rules underpinning Canadian law, and the extent of the British Parliament’s power to legislate for Canada. This article explores these questions and proposes solutions for the puzzles they entail.