Unwritten constitutional principles often find their place into Canadian constitutional law via their supposed foothold in the part of the Preamble to the Constitution Act, 1867 that refers to 'a Constitution similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom'. Principles such as judicial independence, democracy, federalism, constitutionalism and the rule of law, and protection of minorities have been derived from the preamble in this way. This paper looks through over a hundred years of Supreme Court of Canada case law in order to determine what that preambular phrase has meant over time. It then proposes a reading of the Preamble and constitutional principles that is attentive to text, case law, principles and an evolving Canadian context: a sustainable jurisprudence.
We look forward to welcoming you on July 3-5, 2023 for our Annual Conference entitled "Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World." The conference will take place at the Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand.Call For Papers and Panels