Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


Myra J. Tawfik


NAFTA, harmonization of laws


This paper will argue that domestic courts can pro- vide a forum within which to mediate between these two extremes, to reconcile the ‘‘global’’ and the ‘‘local’’ — but that the courts themselves must adapt to meet the challenges that globalization places upon them. More specifically, the paper begins by setting out a framework for understanding harmonization of laws under NAFTA as one that encourages rather than eliminates diversity of law. The paper then studies the prevailing approaches to statutory interpretation that Canadian courts, most especially the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Court of Appeal, have been employing in deciding IP cases in a post-NAFTA environment to determine whether any or all of these approaches could effectively balance the ‘‘global’’ and the ‘‘local’’. This analysis is intended as a starting point for further inquiry about the role of domestic judicial decision-making in an era increasingly marked by an impetus towards the global harmonization of laws.