Publication details [#5486]

Haigh, Richard and Michael Sobkin. 2007. Does the observer have an effect?: An analysis of the use of the dialogue metaphor in Canada's courts. 24 pp. URL
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Article in journal
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In "Charter Dialogue Revisited", it is noted that the original idea behind the dialogue metaphor was simply to describe Canada's constitutional structure. Despite this, the metaphor has been criticized for having normative content and influencing courts and legislatures. In this commentary, the authors analyze all Supreme Court of Canada and lower court uses of the dialogue metaphor and conclude that, with some exceptions, the courts are employing the metaphor properly, i.e. descriptively. Since, however, the metaphor can be misapplied - used other than to describe or explain the relationship between the courts and legislatures in Canada -- the authors recommend ending its use in the courts. (Richard Haigh and Michael Sobkin)