On The Principles of Fundamental Justice

Section 7 protects against the deprivation of an individual’s life, liberty and security of the person unless done in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. These include the principles against arbitrariness, overbreadth and gross disproportionality. An arbitrary law is one that impacts section 7 rights in a way that is not rationally connected to the law’s purpose. An overbroad law is one that impacts section 7 rights in a way that, while generally rational, goes too far by capturing some conduct that bears no relation to the law’s purpose. A grossly disproportionate law is one whose effects on section 7 rights are so severe as to be “completely out of sync” with the law’s purpose.

Government of Canada, Bill C-27 Charter Statement

I like how tight and punchy the Government of Canada frames the principles of fundamental justice in its Charter statements. I’m familiar with each concept though, admittedly, through a different (academic) lens. I suspect that this framing will help me to have more fulsome and productive interactions with legislative drafters in the future.

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