Report from the Chair

  • April 02, 2015

The National Section on International Law has been very active over the past year and, thanks to the hard work of our members and volunteers who have been active in programs, publications, and policy, we have more exciting initiatives on current and cutting edge international legal issues coming up this year.

One of the major initiatives completed in 2014 was a reorganization of the NSIL committees to simplify the structure and prevent subject-matter overlap. The NSIL’s four committees have been collapsed into two main committees: Private International Law and Public International Law. Private International Law covers issues and topics such as private transactions, families and individuals, and arbitration. The Public International Law Committee comprises issues such as trade and investment, international development, and human rights. We welcomed Rick Lane and Patrick Ferland as co-chairs to the Private International Law Committee and Sonja Pavic and Matthew Kronby as the Public International Law co-chairs. Keep an eye out for new programs and initiatives from these committees and reach out to the new chairs to find out how to get involved.

The NSIL has also continued to increase activities held in conjunction with the American Bar Association Section on International Law (ABA SIL). In October, the NSIL co-sponsored a reception with the ABA SIL at the 2014 North American Regional Forum. NSIL section member Gib van Ert welcomed conference attendees to the joint reception on behalf of the NSIL. Coming up in October the NSIL will be sponsoring a professional development panel prior to the start of the ABA SIL’s fall meeting in Montreal. The panel will explore the recent Canada and European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations. More details about the event and how to participate will be available soon.

On the policy front, the NSIL put forward a resolution that was presented at the Mid-Winter meeting in February urging Parliament to adopt an exception to the State Immunity Act for acts of torture and other gross violations of human rights. The resolution 15-01-M passed unanimously without debate.

In closing, I would like to remind all NSIL members that on May 28 the NSIL will be hosting its annual spring professional development session. We will again be hosting interactive meetings with representatives from the Department of Justice and from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development, which presents an opportunity for NSIL members to receive updates on key issues and developments in public international law and private international law. We will also be holding a reception following the meeting featuring a speaker discussing the topic of anti-terrorism measures adopted by Canada. Details about this event are available on the NSIL webpage.

Wendy Wagner is a partner with Gowlings, a CBA Partner Firm, in Ottawa.