In Search of Prophylactic Rules

By Plaxton, Michael | McGill Law Journal, February 2005 | Go to article overview

In Search of Prophylactic Rules


Plaxton, Michael, McGill Law Journal


Prophylactic mies are laws created by judges to prevent violations of the constitution. Unlike constitutional rules, prophylactic rules have no constitutional status of their own. Legislatures can repeal or alter prophylactic rules, provided they devise alternative strategies for meeting the requirements of the constitution.

While the United States Supreme Court has recognized prophylactic rules, the Supreme Court of Canada has yet to do so. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has created unacknowledged prophylactic rules. Examples include the Court's requirement for a search warrant regime in Hunter v. Southam Inc. and its demand for independent provincial judicial salary commissions in R. v. Campbell. In both of these cases, the Court appears to have conflated prophylactic mies with constitutional requirements.

By failing to distinguish between constitutional and prophylactic rules, the Court has introduced confusion into several areas of constitutional law. The Court has also denied the role of Parliament and the provincial legislatures as co-interpreters of the constitution. Recognition of prophylactic rules would allow for more meaningful "dialogue" between courts and legislatures--if only in the long term.

Les regles prophylactiques sont des lois creees par les juges afin d'eviter des violations a la constitution. Cependant, contrairement aux regles constitutionnelles, les regles prophylactiques n'ont pas de statut constitutitionnel propre : le pouvoir legislatif peut les abroger ou les modifier, a condition de prevoir des strategies alternatives qui repondent aux exigences de la constitution.

Bien que la Cour supreme des Etats-Unis ait reconnu l'existence des regles prophylactiques, la Cour Supreme du Canada ne lui a pas encore emboie le pas. Pourtant, une analyse attentive des jugements de cette derniere nous indique que la Cour a deja cree des regles prophylactiques, sans les reconnaitre comme telles. C'est notamment le cas du regime de mandats de perquisition dans Hunter v. Southam Inc. et de l'exigence d'une commission independante sur les salaires juridiques provinciaux dans R. v. Campbell. Dans les deux cas, la Cour a presente ces regles prophylactiques comme des essentiels constitutionnels.

En ne distinguant pas les regles constitutionnelles des regles prophylactiques, la Cour a fait naitre la confusion dans plusieurs domaines du droit constitutionnel. La Cour refuse du meme coup au Parlement et aux assemblees legislatives provinciales leur role legitime d'interpretes de la constitution. La reconnaissance des regles prophylactiques permettrait un "echange" plus constructif entre cours de justice et corps legislatifs--ne serait-ce qu'a long terme.

Introduction

I.   Constitutional Rules and Prophylactic Rules

II.  Search Warrants and Disclosure

III. Unwritten Rules, Unnecessary Prophylactics, and Campbell

IV.  Disposable Rules

V.   Dialogue and Elocution

Conclusion

Introduction

The United States and Canada are very different in constitutional structure, history, and culture. For that reason, Canadian jurists, judges and lawyers should exercise caution when attempting to use American constitutional jurisprudence to settle Canadian constitutional problems. It might behoove Canadian jurists, however, to occasionally look to American legal scholarship and case law for concepts that help bring order to constitutional thinking, even if the substance of American case law remains something to approach warily for the purposes of transplantation.

The idea of prophylactic rules, as distinguished from constitutional rules, belongs in this category of concepts that deserve a second look. Lately, there has been a great deal of chatter in Canadian legal scholarship (as well as in the popular press and legislative assemblies) about judicial activism and whether or not the Supreme Court of Canada engages in it. More pronounced attention to prophylactic rules in Supreme Court decisions would do much to alleviate those concerns--if only in the long term. …

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

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

In Search of Prophylactic Rules
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.