Professor Yan Campagnolo’s book on cabinet secrecy honoured by the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research

Posted on Thursday, February 11, 2021

Professor Yan Campagnolo’s 2020 publication, Le secret ministériel : théorie et pratique (Presses de l’Université Laval) has been named the runner-up for the 2020 Walter Owen Book Prize, awarded by the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research.

Le secret ministériel is the first complete examination of the subject of cabinet secrecy in Canada. It explores the inherent tension between government transparency and the need to preserve the confidential nature of cabinet proceedings. The idea for the book was born when Professor Campagnolo was working as a lawyer in the Privy Council Office and the public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair was making headlines. In this context, he began pondering the idea of cabinet secrecy, which is based on constitutional conventions, common law and certain obscure provisions of federal legislation. Realizing that the concept was quite vague and that effective recourses against claims of cabinet immunity were lacking, Professor Campagnolo decided to clarify the concept and reconsider its framework. He chose to make it the subject of his doctoral thesis at the University of Toronto. Now in its published form, the book provides an in-depth analysis of cabinet secrecy from historical, theoretical and practical perspectives with reference to British, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian cabinets.

The winner of the 2020 Walter Owen Book Prize is Professor Pascal Fréchette of the Faculty of Law at the Université de Sherbrooke for the book La restitution des prestations (Éditions Yvon Blais), the first extensive study on the restitution of benefits in Quebec.

The Walter Owen Book Prize recognizes excellence in legal writing and rewards outstanding new contributions to Canadian legal literature. The prize alternates annually between English and French-language books. As runner-up, Professor Campagnolo receives a cash award of $10,000.

Congratulations to Professor Campagnolo on this distinguished achievement!

Click here to read more about Le secret ministériel : théorie et pratique.

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