The Judges Reference and the Secession Reference at Twenty: Reassessing the Supreme Court of Canada's Unfinished Unwritten Constitutional Principles Project
Upon the 20-year anniversary of the Reference re Remuneration of Judges of the Provincial Court of Prince Edward Island and the Reference re Secession of Quebec, the author reflects on the methodology utilized by the Supreme Court of Canada to reach dramatic conclusions on the basis of unwritten constitutional principles in these cases. An analysis of several decisions leading up to the Judges Reference and the Secession Reference establish a pattern of reasoning from the abstract to the concrete, from unwritten principle to unwritten rule. However, these decisions lack in methodological self-reflection as they utilize unwritten principles to reach particular outcomes without situating the analysis in a larger interpretive framework. The author seeks to clarify this uncertainty by suggesting a methodological framework entitled “reasoning from constitutional essentials.” This methodology can assist in understanding the analytical framework used by courts to identify and reach conclusions on the basis of unwritten constitutional principles.
Author(s) retain original copyright in the substantive content of the titled work, subject to the following rights that are granted indefinitely:
- Author(s) grant the Alberta Law Review permission to produce, publish, disseminate, and distribute the titled work in electronic format to online database services, including, but not limited to: LexisNexis, QuickLaw, HeinOnline, and EBSCO;
- Author(s) grant the Alberta Law Review permission to post the titled work on the Alberta Law Review website and/or related websites.
- Author(s) agree that the titled work may be used for educational or instructional purposes and/or in educational or instructional materials. The author(s) acknowledge that the titled work is subject to other such "fair dealing" provisions and applicable legislation.
- Author(s) grant a limited license to those accessing the titled work from an electronic database or an Alberta Law Review website to download the titled work onto their computer and to print a copy for their own personal, non-commercial use, subject to proper attribution.
To use the journal's content elsewhere, permission must be obtained from the author(s) and the Alberta Law Review.