Message from the Chair

  • July 08, 2014

A busy year...

This is my last column as chair of the International Law Section. The last two years have flown by – pleasurably – and it is gratifying to see what the section has accomplished. We’ve been busy! Here are the highlights of the section’s year in 2013-2014:

  • September 2013 onward: A new editor, editorial structure and financial stabilization plan were introduced for our flagship publication, the Canadian International Lawyer. The renewal of the CIL ensures that practitioners of international law in Canada will continue to have access to the high quality, peer-reviewed content in the journal.
  • October 2013: Vol. 9, no. 2 of Canadian International Lawyer was published. This issue is available on the section’s web page.
  • December 2013: The Trade and Investment Committee launched TradeClippings, a weekly media-monitoring newsletter. If you haven’t signed up for it, do: it’s great!
  • December 2013: After years of the CBA advocating for ratification, Canada finally ratified the ICSID Convention.
  • January 2014: CBA President Fred Headon wrote to the Minister of Public Safety to implement Resolution 13-08-A, sponsored by the section and passed at the August 2013 CBA Canadian Legal Conference. Resolution 13-08 A concerns the Minister of Public Safety’s Ministerial Direction on Information Sharing with Foreign Entities.
  • February 2014: The Section co-sponsored Resolution 14-05-M for a Permanent Olympics and Para-Olympics Human Rights Monitor. You can read about the resolution in National magazine.
  • February 2014: The Section published an issue of The Bulletin.  If you missed this issue, you’ll find it posted online on the section’s web page.
  • March 2014: Section members David Matas, Noemi Gal-Or and I acted for the CBA to intervene in Estate of the Late Zahra Kazemi v. Islamic Republic of Iran, SCC Docket No. 35034. This case concerns the constitutionality of aspects of Canada’s State Immunity Act, as applied in an action to recover damages for the torture and killing of the late Canadian-Iranian photojournalist, Zahra Kazemi. Full details on the case, and the CBA’s factum, are available on the Supreme Court of Canada website.
  • April 2014: I had the pleasure of representing the section at the ABA Section of International Law’s 2014 Spring Meeting in New York, NY. Pursuant to a memorandum of agreement between our section and the ABA Section of International Law, each section’s members enjoy preferential registration rates for key meetings and conferences of the other section. I urge all members to take advantage of this agreement and attend some the ABA section’s events. The programming at the 2014 Spring Meeting was varied and interesting.

While I was at the Spring Meeting, I also met with a representative of the Law Society of England and Wales to consider opportunities for the section to cooperate with the CBA’s British analog.

  • April-May 2014: Our section contributed to CBA’s submission on Bill C-31, focusing, especially, on the proposed changes to staffing arrangements for the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.
  • May 2014: The section held its annual, in-person executive meeting at the end of May. Among other things, we resolved to draft and finalize a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation and exchange with the Law Society of England and Wales.
  • May 2014: Our section held consultative meetings with colleagues at the Department of Justice to discuss matters of mutual concern in the areas of international trade litigation, international human rights law and private international law. Key topics discussed this year included the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, other trade agreements under negotiation; litigation involving Canada under NAFTA and at the WTO; the proposed and current work at the Hague Conference on Private International Law, UNCITRAL and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada; and domestic implementation of Canada’s international human rights treaty obligations. To learn more about the meeting and to engage on the topics discussed, contact the section committee chairs.
  • August 2014: In August we are co-sponsoring, with the Criminal Law Section, a PD event at the CBA Legal Conference in St. John's: Human Trafficking: the Crime of the Century. I hope to see you there. The PD session will be followed by an informal meeting with current section members, and those who may be interested in joining.

About the Author

Monique Pongracic-Speier is a litigator with Ethos Law Group LLP