Stéphane Beaulac and John H. Currie

in International Law and Domestic Legal Systems

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199694907
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731914 | DOI:

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With two exceptions, Canada's written Constitution is silent on international agreements and treaties. This is because Canada was a British Dominion rather than a sovereign state at the time of Canadian Confederation in 1867, and its foreign affairs were conducted on its behalf by the Imperial British government in the years immediately following Confederation. There are no explicit references to customary international law or the law of nations in Canada's written Constitution. However, section 11(g) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms implicitly references customary international law when it refers to offences at ‘international law’. Further, the preamble to the Constitution Act 1867 provides that Canada shall have ‘a Constitution similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom’. This has generally been interpreted to mean that customary international law has a status in Canadian law similar to that which it enjoys in British law.

Keywords: Canadian law; customary international law; constitutional law; constitution; domestic law; British law; international agreements; treaties

Chapter.  22720 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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