Canada's First Female Head of the High Court ; Canada and the United States Share an Inherited Common Law from England

By Tom Regan writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Canada's First Female Head of the High Court ; Canada and the United States Share an Inherited Common Law from England


Tom Regan writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Canadian Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin recently visited the Boston area to give the commencement speech at Bridgewater State College. Bridgewater has one of the most extensive Canadian Studies programs in the US. Judge McLachlin, the first woman chief justice and one of three women on the nine- member Canadian Supreme Court, took time to talk to the Monitor about the difference between the Canadian and United States judicial systems.

Can you explain the fundamental difference between the US and the Canadian judicial systems?

Maybe I can start by saying what we have in common. We share the common law which we inherited from England, although we have a civil code in Canada, as well. That's a major difference, which applies in Quebec for what we call the civil law, torts, and contracts....

Canada is a bijural country, as we call it. We have a common law and a civil code. You are a unijural country, for the most part, although you too have a civil code in Louisiana.

On a constitutional level there are a number of similarities and differences. Both countries have a bill of rights. You got yours very early on. We did not adopt a bill of rights until 1982, with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In deciding these issues [of rights and freedoms] we look at other countries and how they have gone about it. We look at what the American approaches have been, how Americans have defined these rights. We have perhaps a slightly more eclectic approach toward human rights than you might in the US. US justices do not often cite foreign precedents. We would do that frequently.

Another difference is in the structure of our bill of rights. Ours is much more like the European bills of rights and charters, although not identical, than the American. And that is reflected in the fact that we have an idea of proportionality. We don't define our rights absolutely.

There isn't a hierarchy of rights like there is in the US?

That's right. In Canada, we set out the rights to which people are entitled. But we also say, right in the Constitution under Section 1, that the state can limit those rights.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Canada's First Female Head of the High Court ; Canada and the United States Share an Inherited Common Law from England
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.