James Foy of Vancouver wins CBA Military Law Section's law school essay contest

  • July 12, 2013

OTTAWA — The 2013 Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) National Military Law Section Law School Sword and Scale Essay Prize is awarded to Dalhousie University’s James Foy of Vancouver, for his essay entitled Autonomous Weapons Systems: Taking the Human out of International Humanitarian Law.

“James Foy summarizes a highly complex subject matter and enriches our understanding of the subject,” says Pascal Levesque, Chair of the essay contest jury. “His paper makes the case that the current principles of international humanitarian law are not adequate to address the concerns raised by AWS.”

The essay examines a topical issue in armed conflict — Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS) — also known as drones and robots. The development and use of AWS is growing throughout the world, giving rise to a number of legal, ethical and political issues.

The jury was unanimous in its praise for this work’s insight and balance. “Well-grounded in the literature, this article is an effective link between the law and the technology in an emerging area for armed conflicts. Pertaining to a topic highly relevant to Canadian military affairs, this essay provides a very comprehensive and yet concise discussion of the legal and even ethical challenges,” adds Mr. Levesque.

A third year law student at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, James Foy is currently a summer student at Norton Rose Fulbright and research assistant for the Law and Technology Institute. Before entering law school, he worked as a technical director in the performing arts and toured internationally. Now he focuses his creative energy on volunteering for the Phoenix Youth Shelter and serving as Vice President Academic of the Law Student’s Society.

The Sword & Scale Essay Competition is an annual initiative of the CBA’s National Military Law Section. The winning paper is published in the CBA’s Sword & Scalenewsletter. James Foy received the distinction at this year’s Military Law Conference in June in Ottawa.

The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice.  Some 37,000 lawyers, notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.

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