National Security Law
Canadian Practice in International Perspective
National Security Law is a comprehensive handbook that focuses on the law and legal instruments governing the Canadian state’s response to events that jeopardize its “national security.” Specifically, these are events or plausible threats with the potential to inflict massive injury on life and property in Canada – terrorism, natural disasters and epidemic disease, and foreign attacks and domestic insurrections.
National security law is governed by a vast array of federal and provincial statutes. But this text, part of Irwin Law’s Essentials of Canadian Law series, also draws on core international, constitutional, and common law doctrines and the comparative legal experience of other states. In addition to describing in detail the applicable legal principles, the book flags key dilemmas and challenges that run through national security law. It also critically assesses certain issues of contemporary relevance, such as the use of armed force, torture, government secrecy, surveillance, intelligence information sharing, and detention without trial.
National Security Law is divided into three main parts along the following themes:
- national security structure (that is, the special institutional infrastructure — both national and international – set up to deal with national security issues);
- national security objectives (that is, the law related to several specific threats that the state seeks to curb or forestall, including terrorism, weapons proliferation, political emergencies and natural disasters); and
- national security techniques (that is, the law governing such practices as government secrecy, surveillance, intelligence sharing, detention, and interrogation).
The book is up to date to mid-August 2007.
Craig Forcese is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law (Common Law Section), University of Ottawa. He teaches public international law, national security law, administrative law and public law/legislation. Much of his present research and writing relates to national security, human rights and democratic accountability.