About this Project

This blog comments on Canadian (and occasionally comparative) national security law to update my National Security Law textbook and now also my 2015 book, False Security: The Radicalization of Anti-terrorism, co-authored with Kent Roach.

Please also see www.antiterrorlaw.ca for Bill C-51-related analyses by Craig Forcese and Kent Roach.

For narrated lectures on various topics in national security law, please visit my 2017 "national security nutshell" series, available through iTunes.


For a continuing conversation on Canadian national security law and policy, please join Stephanie Carvin and me at A Podcast Called INTREPID.


Please also visit my archive of "secret law" in the security area.

By Craig Forcese

Full Professor
Faculty of Law

Email: cforcese[at]uottawa.ca

Twitter: @cforcese


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Most Recent Blog Postings

Latest Book: Available from Irwin Law in April 2018.


Book released on November 30

National Security Law: Canadian Practice in International Perspective was released on November 30 and is now available from the publisher, Amazon or Chapters/Indigo on-line.


Special Advocates and the House of Lord's decision in MB

On October 31, 2007, the House of Lords – the UK’s highest court of appeal – released a decision that gave special advocates only a lukewarm blessing.  Secretary of State v. MB, [2007] UKHL 46. That court concluded that preserving the fair hearing interest is imperative and that there may be circumstances in which the use of special advocate does not guard that fair trial interest.  The law lords concluded that the judges adjudicating the case in question must retain the discretion to require that information be disclosed to the named person in the interests of a fair trial. This holding, if applied in Canada, would affect the security certificate process, including the revamped version proposed in bill C-3. At present (and in the new bill), the security certificate process requires a judge to hold confidential information that he or she considers would cause injury to, inter alia, national security if disclosed. Strangely, the disclosure regime under the immigration law is quite different from the more general system for protecting national security confidentiality created by the Canada Evidence Act, s.38.  In the Canada Evidence Act, the judge is able to balance the national security interest against other interests, including the public interest in a fair proceeding.  On both the logic of the Canada Evidence Act and now MB, the security certificate law should not restrict the judge to looking only to the national security question, without conducting a balancing.  This balancing would allow the judge to permit disclosure if the risk to the national security from disclosure is relatively small but the importance of the disclosure of the evidence to the fairness of the proceeding is very high.





Detailed Comments on Bill C-3 (Special Advocates)

In response to the government's bill on special advocates in immigration security certificate proceedings (bill C-3), Lorne Waldman and I have prepared an annotated version of the bill noting our concerns and proposing changes that would, in our view, greatly enhance the special advocate mechanism and assist in circumventing the problems experienced in the United Kingdom.  We also make a number of other comments relating to the security certificate process more generally.  This document may be accessed by clicking here.