chapter  14
21 Pages

Canadian legal perspectives in bioethics

The history of distinctive Canadian law regarding issues of bioethical con-

cern is relatively short, although by the end of the twentieth century it had become quite intense. Until two landmark decisions of the Supreme Court

of Canada on informed consent to medical care in 1980, in Hopp v. Lepp1

and particularly Reibl v. Hughes,2 the medical law of Canadian provinces in

general followed principles of English law, although Que´bec retained an

historical affiliation with French law. The Criminal Code of Canada, first

adopted in 1892, which is federal and applies equally to all of the provinces,

was an embodiment of English criminal law, often in its very language.

Legal bioethics presented a particular instance of the more general critical observation of a leading Canadian legal academic in 1959, that: