Common issues in criminal law become complex in terrorism cases because of the unique investigative processes, coupled with the division of responsibility for national security proceedings and criminal prosecutions. The Federal Court, in collaboration with provincial superior courts, created a specialized program, designed to assist federally appointed judges in handling these types of cases and to understand the unique challenges arising from global and national security threats.
The objective was to build capacity in the Federal Court and the provincial superior courts so that judges would be prepared to handle cases of alleged terrorist activity more effectively and efficiently.
This program delivered legislative and case law updates and explored the complexity of bifurcated proceedings in terrorist matters while providing practical advice in managing these often time-sensitive, sometimes sensational, cases. Topics included: the challenges presented by rapid technological developments; the impacts of government surveillance on the privacy interests of Canadians; the search and seizure powers used by security agencies and the police; and the use of intelligence as evidence in criminal prosecutions. The course also looked at case management, trial procedures, and sentencing.
The course used a combination of lectures, panel discussions, scenarios and open question and answer sessions.