9:00- 9:10




Hon. L. Lebel* Relevance of IL in Practice

Jurists often tend to view their domestic legal systems as closed systems. They may assume that public international law is as an esoteric topic that they can safely ignore. The author intends to stress the growing importance of public international law in several areas of legal practice. Examples drawn from diverse parts of the law as in civil liberties, criminal law, intellectual property or economic law, will be given. International law (IL) may be directly applicable. It may also be a source of persuasive or interpretive authority. But it is out there in the Canadian legal system and it cannot be ignored by jurists.

9:45 – 10:05

Gib van Ert*

IL Sources

Overview of IL Sources and their legal weight


Micah Rankin*

Admissibility of Expert Legal Opinion Evidence in Canadian Courts

It is well established that courts will not admit expert opinion evidence on domestic law. Yet while the prohibition of expert opinion on questions of domestic law is well-known, it is less known whether the same rules apply to the IL. Should one call an expert who opines on a contested point of law in issue, or does one simply make submissions in the form of legal argument? This presentation discusses recent rulings that hold that experts should not be permitted to offer legal opinions on Canada’s international obligations. The presentation provides some practical methods for relying upon IL in domestic courts and tribunals.



Coffee/tea, Networking


Gib van Ert*

Reception of IL by AdminTribs and SoR

Recent administrative law decisions indicate a deferential standard of review on certain legal questions decided by administrative tribunals. Such bodies are sometimes called upon to determine questions of public international law. The repercussions of a deferential approach to public international legal matters are potentially significant for Canada. This presentation argues for a correctness standard on all questions of public IL.


  Monique Pongracic-   Speier*

Primer on Customary International Law

Monique will discuss Customary IL’s place within Canadian common law and how to show that some proposed rule is, in fact, an element of customary IL.  She will consider customary IL “in action” in Canadian courts by reference to the 2014 decisions in Kazemi Estate and the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision in Munyaneza.




Hon. K. Neilson [BCCA]

Awareness, Utility, and Effective Pleading

By way of introduction, Justice Neilson will describe factors contributing to a growing awareness of IL in Canada’s domestic courts, and the utility of international jurisprudence in this setting. She will then discuss means of effectively pleading and submitting international legal sources.


Gloria Chao

Aboriginal Law Treaties/Conventions, implementation in practice

  1. The nature of IL sources & principles with respect to Canadian aboriginal rights;
  2. Developments and challenges of using IL sources in Canadian aboriginal law cases
  3. Advancement of Aboriginal rights in the development of IL and in international fora



Coffee/tea, Networking


Panel 1: Laura Cundari, Joe Fiorante, & Robin Reinertson

Cross-border and international law issues in class actions

[TBD: Forum issues, defining the class size, court’s willingness to accept class, application of foreign laws, etc.]


Panel 2: Michael Brundrett & Deborah Strachan, Gregory Delbigio

Cross-border and international law issues in criminal law

Cross-border issues continue to play an important role in Canadian criminal law. Canadian jurisprudence has recently seen pronouncements in the areas of the extra-territorial application of the Charter of Rights to Canadian police gathering evidence abroad, the ability of domestic and international law enforcement agencies to share information, and the use of international treaties to aid interpretation of our criminal law. This presentation will consider these issues in light of Hape, Wakeling, and the 2011 Polygamy Reference case in BC. The impact of international issues in the extradition context may also be examined.



Coffee/tea, Networking


Case Study

e.g. TBD

Moderator : [Gib van Ert], Panelists : Lebel, Neilson, Chao, Fiorante, Pongracic-Speier, Rankin. [Topics TBD: e.g. Pleading violations of IL as domestic torts, Chevron, sovereign immunity, complicity and ICL]


Closing remarks