Foreword to the first edition

AuthorGib van Ert
Foreword to the f‌irst
A review of Canadian case law shows that C anadian courts have, in
the past, had little occa sion to consider points of international law in
their judgments. Perhaps for this reason, impor tant concepts that are
familia r to internationa l lawyers — the dif‌fe rences bet ween custom-
ary laws and conventions, the signif‌icance of jus cogens, and the role
of evolv ing norms of international law (or “soft law”), to na me a few
examples — have not always received a sophi sticated treatment in our
jurisprudence. Yet an understanding of these matters is essential in de-
termining how international nor ms are incorporated i nto, or rejected
by, our legal system.
It is t he thesis of thi s book that a lack of basic i nternational legal
understanding on the part of lawyers and judges is no longer per mis-
sible in the integrated world in which we live, and that we must educate
ourselves better if we are to manage that integration process i n the
interests of Ca nadian society. It is a thesis to wh ich I entirely and en-
thusiastica lly subscribe.
It is Ca nada’s good fort une to enjoy a st rong reputation on the
international scene. As the only G country that was never a colonial
power, the world perceives Canada to be an honest broker. As a leading
member of both t he Commonwealth and la Francophonie, Canada is
looked to by smaller powers as a trusted intermedia ry. As a peacekeep-
er, Canada is relied upon by countries in need. As a democracy with a
proven commitment to human r ights, Canada is regarded a s a model
for developing legal systems.

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