The Dual Nature of Canadian Administrative Law

Canada is a federal state of common law tradition. In the ‘bijural’ province of Québec, however, that tradition applies to public law only, because private law is of civil law tradition. Thus, in theory, the common law tradition of public law is uniform across Canada, since Québec’s difference relates to private law only. I will argue that the coexistence of civil law and common law traditions in Québec affects the uniformity of public law in Canada. More precisely, conceptions of law and legal reasoning, institutions, and particular understandings of the separation of powers in Québec share similarities with French legal traditions, suggesting a possible spill-over of the civil law tradition onto the common law. This suggests, in turn, that the relationships between Canadian and Québec administrative law may have to be approached through a comparative law lens.