Host Organization: Department of Law and Legal Studies, Jurisprudence Centre
Since 1875, Canadian courts have been required to hear proceedings in the absence of a live case and to render “advisory opinions”. The advisory function has produced extraordinary constitutional moments. Advisory opinions, also called references, involve the same kinds of legal reasoning, and settle the same sorts of questions, as cases. But they occupy uncertain legal terrain. As they do not trigger a court’s normal remedial powers, advisory opinions do not create ordinary legal obligations. Yet, they exert unmistakeable authority.
In this talk, Prof. Carissima Mathen (Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa) canvasses a number of issues pertaining to references, including the idea that they may contain broader insights about judicial review and “law as such”.