Reflections on Canada’s Past, Present and Future in International Law

Réflexions sur le passé, le présent et l’avenir du Canada en matière de droit international

June 19, 2018
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Marking 150 years since Confederation provides an opportunity for Canadian international law practitioners and scholars to reflect on Canada’s rich history in international law and governance, where we find ourselves today in the community of nations, and how we might help shape a future in which Canada’s rules-based and progressive approach to international law gains ascendancy. These essays, each written in the official language chosen by the authors, provide a critical perspective on Canada’s past and present in international law, survey the challenges that lie before us and offer renewed focus for Canada’s pursuit of global justice and the rule of law.

Part I explores the history and practice of international law, including sources of international law, Indigenous treaties, international treaty diplomacy, domestic reception of international law and Parliament’s role in international law. Part II explores Canada’s role in international law, governance and innovation in the broad fields of international economic, environmental and intellectual property law. Economic law topics include international trade and investment, dispute settlement, subnational treaty making, international taxation and private international law. Environmental law topics include the international climate change regime and international treaties on chemicals and waste, transboundary water governance and the law of the sea. Intellectual property (IP) law topics explore the development of international IP protection and the integration of IP law into the body of international trade law. Part III explores Canadian perspectives on developments in international human rights and humanitarian law, including judicial implementation of these obligations, international labour law, business and human rights, international criminal law, war crimes, child soldiers and gender.

Reflections on Canada’s Past, Present and Future in International Law/ Réflexions sur le passé, le présent et l’avenir du Canada en matière de droit international demonstrates the pivotal role that Canada has played in the development of international law and signals the essential contributions it is poised to make in the future.

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About the Editor

Oonagh E. Fitzgerald was director of international law at CIGI from April 2014 to February 2020. In this role, she established and oversaw CIGI’s international law research agenda, which included policy-relevant research on issues of international economic law, environmental law, IP law and innovation, and Indigenous law.

Valerie Hughes is a senior fellow at CIGI, senior counsel with Bennett Jones LLP and adjunct assistant professor in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University.

Mark Jewett is a CIGI senior fellow and counsel to Bennett Jones LLP. He was previously senior assistant deputy minister at the Departments of Justice and Finance, and general counsel and corporate secretary at the Bank of Canada.