August 12, 2009 Ottawa ON
Assisted human reproduction, identity theft and abuse lawsuits designed to limit public participation were three of the issues considered by senior lawyers and policy makers at the 91st annual meeting of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada held in Ottawa.
The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada addressed the delegates on August 12, 2009 noting that the work of the Uniform Law Conference greatly benefits the process of law reform in Canada, as it identifies emerging issues and provides a range of expertise and experience to inform law and policy.
The Uniform Law Conference of Canada is a volunteer organization in which delegates from all across Canada, including members of the judiciary, law professors, corporate counsel, private lawyers and government lawyers, recommend ways to modernize and harmonize federal, provincial and territorial laws. Approximately 80 delegates attended this year's annual meeting.
"The delegates worked hard this week,” said Conference President W. Dean Sinclair. ”Ottawa’s natural beauty, rich history and warm hospitality provided the perfect backdrop for our annual meeting. It was especially a pleasure to be able to showcase the nation’s capital for our American, Mexican and Australian guests.”
The Uniform Law Conference of Canada meets in two sections. The Civil Section focuses on the modernization and harmonization of commercial and non-commercial laws. The Criminal Section considers proposals to reform criminal laws. Over the years, the Conference has tackled many complex legal issues and recommended the implementation of numerous Uniform Acts and other law reform initiatives. Those recommendations have often been enacted into law by federal, provincial and territorial governments.
During the week, the Conference adopted in principle two Uniform Acts: an act to implement the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements and the Uniform Act on Abuse of Process which concerns potentially abusive lawsuits intended to limit a person’s right to freely express public opinions. The Civil Section also considered a uniform act to adopt the UN Convention on Independent Guarantees and Stand-by Letters of Credit and legislative proposals that would impose a duty on holders of personal information to notify affected persons when there is a theft of personal information.
In the Criminal Section, the Conference considered approximately 35 resolutions recommending amendments to the Criminal Code and related statutes. The Criminal Section also considered a paper about the effect pre-sentence custody has on various Criminal Code sentencing options.
Joint sessions of the Criminal and Civil Sections dealt with the following topics: limits on the use of prosecution records for non-prosecution purposes, malicious prosecution lawsuits and extra-provincial service of provincial offence notices.
In the last several years, the Conference has worked closely with its American and Mexican counterparts to develop common legal principles with application across North America. Invited guests included President Robert A. Stein and past-President Justice Martha L.W. Walters from the United States Uniform Law Commission, Dr. Jorge Sanchez Cordero from the Mexican Uniform Law Centre and Amanda Davies, Special Advisor to the Standing Committee of Attorneys General of Australia and New Zealand.