Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Foreign Law Sources at the Supreme Court

Last week, Rosalie Fox, director of the Library of the Supreme Court of Canada, presented a paper at the European Legal e-Access Conference in Paris that used citation analysis to, among other things, look at the use of foreign sources in the Court's decisions for 2006 and 2007. (The conference website has details about the rest of the program.)

Originally, the data was compiled to study the degree to which cited material was available locally in the Court's own print and electronic collections. But it was also used to determine the extent to which the Court used foreign legal sources:
"Whereas in the 50 years between 1944 and 1993 the Supreme Court cited to foreign court decisions (UK, US and other countries) 34.59% of the time, by 2006 and 2007 the percentage had dropped to 9% and 13.7% respectively. Cases from the UK, followed by the US, still predominate. We are starting, however, to see an increase in the importance of Australia, the European Court of Human Rights, the South African Constitutional Court and the Israeli Supreme Court."

"But far from seeing a decline in the influence of international law on domestic law, judges and legal scholars alike agree that globalization has had a profound effect on judging. Globalization in judging means that courts now look all over the world for sources of persuasive authority, particularly in the areas of human rights law, trade, terrorism, extradition, and intellectual property, to name just a few (...)"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:38 pm


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