2007 Charlottetown PE

Uniform Law Conference Delegates Work to Harmonize Laws
Sept. 13, 2007

The following is distributed by Island Information Service at the request of the Office of the Attorney General

Income trusts and identity theft were two of the issues discussed this week when the senior Canadian law and policy makers met in Charlottetown for the 89th annual meeting of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.

The Uniform Law Conference of Canada meets in two sections. The civil section recommends ways to harmonize federal, provincial and territorial laws. The criminal section considers proposals to modernize criminal law. Throughout the years participants have tackled many thorny issues which have resulted in proposals to modernize and harmonize both criminal and civil laws.

"We are delighted to host the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Conference," said Attorney General Gerard Greenan. "The work of the Uniform Law Conference has significantly impacted the legal framework of Prince Edward Island, and I am confident we will continue to benefit from this work as we develop our legislative agenda in the future."

Minister Greenan said Prince Edward Island has adopted in whole or in part many pieces of legislation put forward by the Conference. This includes the recently implemented Franchises Act and Regulations, which were closely based on recommendations of the Commercial Law Strategy of the Conference.

"Prince Edward Island has been an excellent location for our conference," said Conference President John Twohig. "Island hospitality was on display for the rest of Canada and for the international community."

There has been a longstanding history of mutual exchange with the U.S. uniform law body, but in the past two years the Conference has coordinated efforts to establish common legal principles across North America. Invited guests, Justice Martha L.W. Walters of the United States National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and Dr. Jorge Sanchez Cordero, Director of the Mexican Uniform Law Centre gave presentations to the conference delegates. This year for the first time Ian Govey and Laurie Glanfield of the Standing Committee of Attorneys General of Australia and New Zealand participated in the Conference.

Joint sessions of the criminal and civil sections dealt with the following: Collateral Use of Crown Brief Disclosure, Malicious Prosecutions, Identity Theft and Criminal Interest Rates under section 347 of the Criminal Code.


Criminal Section

  • Assembles prosecutors and policy lawyers from federal, provincial and territorial governments with defense counsel and judges to consider proposals for amendments to the Criminal Code and related statutes.
  • Considered 24 resolutions recommending amendments to the following:
    • Criminal Code
    • the Youth Criminal Justice Act
    • the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
    • the Canada Evidence Act
  • Many of these recommendations may result in changes to Federal laws.

Civil Section

  • Brings together government policy lawyers, private lawyers and law reformers to review areas in which federal, provincial and territorial laws would benefit from harmonization. Key area of work is the Commercial Law Strategy, the goal of which is to modernize and harmonize Canada's commercial laws.
  • Considered several uniform acts, including the following: Adopted recommendations on the Uniform Apology Act, which provide that an apology is not admissible in civil proceedings for the purpose of proving liability and that an apology is not an admission of liability.
  • Adopted recommendations on the Uniform Assignment of Receivables in International Trade Act. Considered the Uniform Income Trusts Act, which is intended to assist in achieving fair and balanced treatment for the main actors in the income trust sector, namely unit holders, creditors, trustees and management, in a manner consistent with their commercial expectations. Working groups were established on several important new projects, including the following:
    • Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements,
    • Interest Act
    • Conflicts Provisions Respecting Wills and Succession (including intestacies), and Assisted Human Reproduction (Parental Status Law).
  • Approved continuation of current work, as follows:
    • Unincorporated Associations
    • Partnerships
    • Fraudulent Conveyances and Preferences
    • UN Convention on Independent Guarantees and Stand By Letters of Credit
    • Personal Property Security issues
    • Privity of Contract
    • The Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Securities
    • Presumption of advancement and resulting trusts
    • Limitation periods and other issues in insurance statutes.

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