[Press and Publications] Human Rights Conference [Law]

February 2001

No 22

A human rights conference to be held in London has attracted a distinguished list of delegates, including representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Scottish Parliament; Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; Human Rights Unit, Office of the First Minister and Deputy Minister, Northern Ireland; Court of Appeal of Ontario; Canadian High Commission; Tamil Centre for Human Rights; and from universities around the country.

As the UK Human Rights Act enters its first year of operation, the British Association of Canadian Studies (BACS) Legal Studies Group is holding a one-day conference entitled The Development of a Human Rights Culture, in London on 7 March.

Fiona Cownie, of the University of Leicester Department of Law and Chair of the BACS Legal Studies Group, said: "Canada has had the Canadian Charter of Rights for a number of years and so this conference provides an excellent opportunity for dialogue between people who are implementing British Government policy on Human Rights, British Human Rights agencies and academic researchers to have a dialogue with their Canadian equivalents".

Among the wide range of experts to discuss Human Rights issues, principal speakers will include Madam Justice Rosalie Abella, Court of Appeal for Ontario; Professor Peter Russell, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Toronto University; and Professor Brice Dickson, Chief Commissioner, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

Papers include: The Human Rights culture of the Judiciary in Canada and the UK; Human Rights and Political Activism; Guaranteeing Rights in Criminal Justice; Constituting a Political Culture through Law; The Case of Canadian Rights Talk; Privacy Rights and Electronic Surveillance; Minority Language Rights in Canada and the UK; Mental Health, the Canadian Charter and the Human Rights Act; Developing a Human Right to a Decent Environment; Human Rights and the Regulation of Sporting Activity; The Implications of the Human Rights Act for the Courts.

Madam Justice Rosalie Abella was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1946 and went to Canada with her family in 1950. Her appointment to the District Court of Ontario at the age of 29, in 1976, made her the first pregnant and the first Jewish female judge in Ontario. She has 17 honorary doctorates, and in 1989 the University of Guelph established an annual lecture series in her name. In 1988 she moderated the televised Federal Leaders' Debate, while in 1990 she was a member of the Maclean's Honour roll. In 1992 she received the Canadian Bar Association-Ontario's Award for Distinguished Service, and in 1996 she was given the Touchstone Award by the Canadian Bar Association. The Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto awarded her its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1996, making her the first female recipient of this honour.

The British Association of Canadian Studies Legal Studies Group conference, The Development of a Human Rights Culture, takes place at Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London, on Wednesday 7 March 2001, starting at 9.30 am.

Note to editors: A conference programme, abstracts of presentations, list of participants and full CV for Madam Rosalie Silberman Abella are available from the University of Leicester Press Office. Further details are available from Fiona Cownie, Chair, BACS Legal Studies Group, University of Leicester Department of Law, telephone 0116 252 2372, email fcc@le.ac.uk

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