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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Kislowicz and Luk, 'Recontextualizing Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia: Crown Land, History and Indigenous Religious Freedom" on SSRN

Howard Kislowicz and Senwung Luk have posted "Recontextualizing Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia: Crown Land, History and Indigenous Religious Freedom" on SSRN. The article has been published in the Supreme Court Law Review.


In Ktunaxa Nation v British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), the Supreme Court of Canada addressed, for the first time, a religious freedom claim under the Charter based on Indigenous spiritual beliefs and practices. The Indigenous Ktunaxa Nation had opposed the development of a ski resort in the area of Qat’muk, also called Upper Jumbo Valley. They said Qat’muk is sacred because of its association with the Grizzly Bear Spirit and, should the proposed development be carried out, the Grizzly Bear Spirit would leave, destroying Qat’muk’s spiritual significance. The Court held that the Charter right of religious does not protect the “spiritual focal point of worship.” Because the Ktunaxa Nation was seeking to protect the Grizzly Bear Spirit itself, the Court reasoned, its claim fell outside the Charter’s ambit. 

We argue that this development could yield results inconsistent with the purposes of protecting religious freedom and is likely to have disproportionately onerous effects on Indigenous spiritual practices. We highlight these effects by presenting some of the historical context of land grants made by colonial powers to dominant religious groups allied with the settler state. To the extent that Ktunaxa suggests that religious groups should rely on property rights rather than religious freedom, the approach privileges dominant groups over non-Indigenous religious minorities because of historical grants made by the state, which also dispossessed Indigenous groups. We suggest that a more appropriate approach to reconciling religious freedom interests with the property interests of the Crown or third parties is to be found in the existing case law on the interaction of religious freedom and zoning regulations. Finally, we suggest that land selection processes under modern treaty negotiations present yet another way to avoid conflict

Monday, February 11, 2019

Peter Gonville Stein book award for non-U.S. legal history (in English)

Peter Gonville Stein book award: (via Matthew Mirow)
Note deadline of March 15th. No Canadian book has won yet--this may be our year!


Best book in legal history (written in English) outside the field of US legal history, published during the previous calendar year.




March 15, 2019
The Peter Gonville Stein Book Award is awarded annually for the best book in legal history written in English. This award is designed to recognize and encourage the further growth of fine work in legal history that focuses on all non-US regions, as well as global and international history. To be eligible, a book must sit outside of the field of US legal history and be published during the previous calendar year. Announced at the annual meeting of the ASLH, this honor includes a citation on the contributions of the work to the broader field of legal history. A book may only be considered for the Stein Award, the Reid Award, or the Cromwell Book Prize. It may not be nominated for more than one of these three prizes.
The Stein Award is named in memory of Peter Gonville Stein, BA, LLB (Cantab); PhD (Aberdeen); QC; FBA; Honorary Fellow, ASLH, and eminent scholar of Roman law at the University of Cambridge, and made possible by a generous contribution from an anonymous donor. Read more about Dr. Stein here.
For the 2019 prize, the Stein Award Committee will accept nominations of any book (not including textbooks, critical editions, and collections of essays) that bears a copyright date of 2018 as it appears on the printed version of the book. Translations into English may be nominated, provided they are published within two years of the publication date of the original version.
Nominations for the Stein Award (including self-nominations) should be submitted by March 15, 2019. Please send an e-mail to the Committee at and include: (1) a curriculum vitae of the author (including the author’s e-mail address); and (2) the name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of the contact person at the press who will provide the committee with two copies of the book. This person will be contacted shortly after the deadline. (If a title is short-listed, four further copies will be requested from the publisher.)
Please contact the committee chair, Matthew Mirow, with any questions at

Committee Members

  • Jisoo Kim (2017), The George Washington University
  • Jessica Marglin (2017), University of Southern California
  • Matthew C. Mirow (2017), Florida International University
  • Daniel Lord Smail (2017), Harvard University
  • David V. Williams (2017), University of Auckland
  • Rachel Jean Baptiste (2018), University of California, Davis