By Christina Iannozzi, Western Law School

Iannozzi - Poisoned WorkplaceCanadians have the right to a workplace free from harassment. As Dickson C.J. noted in Reference Re Public Service Employee Relations Act (Alta.), “work is one of the most fundamental aspects in a person’s life … an essential component of his or her sense of identity, self-worth and emotional well-being.” [1] If work is a component of our identity, then the workplace is a manifestation of that identity.  The laws regarding harassment have evolved, and so has their role in Canadian workplaces.

Harassment is defined in subsection 10(1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.”[2] Because employees are entitled to work in an environment free from harassment, it is now an implied term of all employment contracts that the employer cannot perpetrate nor condone harassment.[3]  As such, employer inaction, or deficient action, in response to credible reports of harassment has been treated by the law as a violation of a term or condition of employment.[4] Continue Reading Poisoned Workplace and Human Rights Systemic Remedies

By Nadir Pracha, McGill Faculty of Law

Pracha - Emergency ArbitratorThe Emergency Arbitrator is a relatively new development under several international arbitration regimes. Before these rules were introduced, national courts were the only mechanism for provisional measures before the arbitral tribunal was constituted. Arbitration agreements are contractual and consensual, and the parties choose to be bound by a particular regime. Amongst the available regimes are the Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (Stockholm Rules).

The three regimes have broadly similar provisions that allow the concurrent jurisdiction of courts for provisional measures until an arbitral tribunal is formed. Under all three sets of rules, the full tribunal also has the power to set-aside the decision of the Emergency Arbitrator. The ICC and LCIA Rules explicitly allow parties to exclude the Emergency Arbitrator provisions but the Stockholm Rules do not. Continue Reading Emergency Arbitrator: Status, Power, Prospects

By Alexei Paish, Peter A. Allard School of Law (University of British Columbia)

Paish - Customary International Law and TreatiesThe distinction between customary international law and treaties is a useful and necessary part of our international legal system. Below, I explore the utility of this distinction for the developers of and claimants in international law, as well as its necessary function in enforcing state accountability, creating specific responsibilities, and propelling the synergetic creation of international law.

The distinction between these two legal sources provides developers of international law with choices in the nature and structure of the laws.  Developers, for example, may choose to conclude a treaty if they wish to create a law that confers specific benefits or responsibilities.  The treaty development process has been transformed by international organizations, which have provided a democratized venue for negotiation that has increased the amount of information available to state actors and created efficiency in treaty creation[1]Continue Reading The Useful and Necessary Distinction Between Customary International Law and Treaties