By Craig Forcese

Full Professor
Faculty of Law

Email: cforcese[at]

Twitter: @cforcese


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Most Recent Blog Postings

National Security Law "Nutshell" Lectures via iTunes Podcasts

I am pleased this year to be co-instructing the Canadian component of the Georgetown law school National Security Law Crisis Simulation, in a three way link-up between uOttawa, Georgetown and uPenn (fingers crossed on the technology). To facilitate that contribution, I have begun posting Canadian national security law "nutshell" podcasts of various topics as an iTunes podcast. Interested listeners may subscribe to that podcast here.

The podcasts are generally 10-20 minutes long -- very much nutshells to "scene set" for classroom discussions. (The topics are a bit of a buffet covering several of the topics in the Georgetown syllabus, and there is no mandatory order, but I generally assume listeners will listen in chronological order. I shall be adding podcasts periodically through to March.)

For other podcast and videocast series for the various courses I teach, see the podcast section of my main website.



Launch of "Secret Law Gazette": Security Service Policies & Rules released under ATIP

I am pleased to launch my first new feature of 2017 for this blog space: the Secret Law Gazette.

About this Project:

The Secret Law Gazette publishes "secret laws" in the area of national security in Canada. "Secret laws" include ministerial directives, memoranda of understanding, and internal policies and procedures which affect and govern the conduct of Canada's security agencies, but are excluded from the regular publication requirements for Canadian law.

For a fuller discussion of the concept of "secret laws", see this posting and the documents linked to it.

About the Documents:

The documents archived here are versions of these instruments released through legal process -- either through access to information requests or court proceedings. The Secret Law Gazette is not a whistleblower site. I do not post materials that have been leaked or otherwise released through unofficial means.

How Secret Law Gazette is Organized:

I have assembled documents into "collections", mostly by category of instrument. I have also prepared occasional "exhibits" that categorize documents by subject matter and occasionally provide more description and analysis. These usually are outgrowths of other research projects on which I have worked. In those cases, I have provided links to academic and other articles that rely on the documents in the curated exhibits.

Document descriptions can also be keyword searched (note that best results come by selecting "boolean" search in the pull down menu at the top right of the webpage).

A Collective Effort:

I welcome contributions from others. This project reflects a commitment to transparency and the rule of law. It is a private intiative that I conduct in my spare time, and in support of my academic research projects. It would, therefore, benefit from serious "crowdsourcing" of materials. I do ask, however, that materials possess a reasonable "chain of custody" demonstrating their provenance as official government documents (that is, released through ATIP or legal process or the equivalent).


National Security Law Blog: 2017 agenda

An entirely misleading but famous portrayal of the raid on the Caroline, by A Sandham, c.1839

I anticipate this year will be a busy one on this blog space. On the agenda are three major projects. First, I am busily working on the "Secret Law Gazette", an archive of ministerial directives, memoranda of understanding and internal policies and procedures for Canada's security services.  These are documents that have been released in fits and starts through access to information, but are very difficult to track and organize.  The Secret Law Gazette will hopefully provide a navigation tool of sorts, however imperfect.

Second, I am still on track to complete my book on the 1837 Caroline incident and its impact on the concepts of use of force and self-defence in public international law. As a spin-off of this book, I shall be creating an archive of documents related to the event and its subsequent trajectory through public international law.

Third, as we enter the post-Green Paper consultation on national security period in Canada, I am hoping things will firm-up in terms of changes to Canada's laws. For the last several years, since late 2014, the trajectory of Canada's laws has been uncertain -- making me wish my books were all like the Caroline project and focused on history. But now the time is arriving to release a second edition of National Security Law (now long in the tooth in some chapters).  My plan is to post revised chapters online throughout 2017, and crowdsource feedback, before assembling the final book for publication in 2018.