It is not uncommon for parties to plead principles of international law to inform a court’s analysis of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”). However, commentators have long expressed concern about the Supreme Court of Canada’s lack of clarity on how it uses international human rights law and for what purpose in Charter interpretation. This paper addresses how a divided Supreme Court of Canada in Quebec (Attorney General) v. 9147-0732 Québec inc. (“9147-0732 Québec inc.”) attempted to clarify when it is appropriate for a court to use international law to interpret the scope of a Charter protection and how this should be done. The paper is set out as follows: Part II sets out the background of the case, while Part III discusses the judgments of the lower courts. Part IV of the paper explains the disagreement between the majority and concurring justices in the Supreme Court’s judgment on the role of international law in Charter interpretation, while Part V analyzes the disagreement between the majority and concurring justices and the implications of the majority’s holding in 9147 for future cases.
Amarnath, Ravi and Harris, Courtney.
"Rigour Required: Recent Direction from the Supreme Court of Canada on Binding and Non-Binding Sources of International Law in Charter Interpretation."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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