Keeping up with the Common Law O'Sullivans? The Limits of Comparative Law in the Context of Military Justice Law Reforms


  • Mike Madden



Critics of the Canadian military justice system have recently suggested that Canada should follow developments in military law that have taken place in Ireland, particularly with respect to the expansive procedural rights that are now afforded to accused persons who face summary forms of trial within the Irish system. This article demonstrates that these calls for comparative-based law reform fail to appreciate important differences in the Irish and Canadian environments within which the respective military justice systems operate, specifically through a case study that discusses the distinct international human rights law obligations that bind the two states, and the unique labour climates within the two armed forces. Ultimately, after illustrating how comparative law alone cannot provide a compelling rationale for military justice law reforms in Canada, the article refers to the Irish/Canadian case study in order to argue that knowledge of comparative law is perhaps more useful to responsible scholars in order to deconstruct law reform proposals rather than to generate new law reform ideas.