Selected writings

Using International Law in Canadian Courts

AUTHOR • 1st ed 2002; 2d ed 2008; 3d ed forthcoming


The only book-length treatment of the reception of public international legal norms into Canadian domestic law. 

“…clearly reasoned, but complex and comprehensive in its treatment of the issues. It introduces van Ert as an author who is confident, straightforward, and methodical, without being dogmatic. Internationalists, along with experts on federalism, treaty interpretation, administrative law, and the enforcement of human rights guarantees, should congratulate him…”

Jamie CameronMcGill Law Journal

“in many respects a model of doctrinal research and writing…this is an important book which merits attention. Van Ert’s thoroughness of research and clarity of style, combined with his important insights into the strengths, weaknesses and potential for development of the Canadian reception system, represent a significant contribution to legal knowledge.”

Jaye Ellis, Revue québécoise de droit international

The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Foreign Relations Law


Oxford HandbookThis Oxford Handbook ambitiously seeks to lay the groundwork for the relatively new field of comparative foreign relations law. Comparative foreign relations law compares and contrasts how nations, and also supranational entities (for example, the European Union), structure their decisions about matters such as entering into and exiting from international agreements, engaging with international institutions, and using military force, as well as how they incorporate treaties and customary international law into their domestic legal systems. The legal materials that make up a nation’s foreign relations law can include constitutional law, statutory law, administrative law, and judicial precedent, among other areas.

My contribution is chapter 28, “The Domestic Application of International Law in Canada”.

Kindred’s International Law: Chiefly as Interpreted and Applied in Canada


Kindred's (small)Kindred’s International Law Chiefly as Interpreted and Applied in Canada, 9th edition, emphasizes the experience and practice of international law from a Canadian perspective both domestically and in foreign relations. A publication of long-standing quality and distinguished reputation, this text has been repeatedly cited as an authority in the Supreme Court of Canada and lower courts for decades. It delivers a comprehensive overview of the foundational concepts, principles, sources, and institutions of the international legal system, and examines specific subject areas of importance in the world today.

My contribution is chapter 3, “Reception of International Law in Canada”.

Reflections on Canada’s Past, Present and Future in International Law


9781928096672Marking 150 years since Confederation, this volume provides a critical perspective on Canada’s past and present in international law. Part I explores the history and practice of international law, including sources of international law, Indigenous treaties, international treaty diplomacy, domestic reception of international law and Parliament’s role in international law. Part II explores Canada’s role in international law, governance and innovation in the broad fields of international economic, environmental and intellectual property law. Part III explores Canadian perspectives on developments in international human rights and humanitarian law, including judicial implementation of these obligations, international labour law, business and human rights, international criminal law, war crimes, child soldiers and gender.

My contribution is chapter one, “The Reception of International Law in Canada: Three Ways We Might Go Wrong”. This chapter is available online here.

A Long Time Ago: Growing Up With And Out Of Star Wars

AUTHOR • 2012

ALTA large coverSome time in the summer of 1977, sitting in the back seat of a borrowed station wagon at the only drive-in in town, Gib van Ert saw the first ninety minutes of a film that changed his world–and the world in general–forever. Then he fell asleep. So began a torrid thirty-five-year love affair with Star Wars, complete with infatuation, lust, devotion, jealousy, betrayal, despair, separation and reconciliation.

Available in paperback and e-book from, and other Amazon stores.

“…mandatory reading for everyone who grew up with the original Star Wars and its toys in the 70s and 80s…”

Yet Another Star Wars Blog

A Long Time Ago is a thoughtful, funny, and beautifully written story…scathingly hilarious and bang on.”

Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

A Long Time Ago is a wonderful look back on growing up with Star Wars…Van Ert [has] written a great little memoir about life as a boy with Star Wars and his trials as an adult with his boyhood fascination.”

Dave Banks,

The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement


the-role-of-domestic-courts-in-treaty-enforcementThis book, edited by David Sloss and published by Cambridge University Press, examines the application of treaties by domestic courts in twelve countries. The central question is whether domestic courts actually provide remedies to private parties who are harmed by a violation of their treaty-based rights.

My contribution is chapter four, “Canada”.

International Human Rights Law

CO-AUTHOR with Mark Freeman • 2004

IHRLAn account of the international law of human rights from a Canadian perspective. Written by Mark Freeman and Gib van Ert, with a foreword by Louise Arbour.

Part One introduces the international law of human rights, including the related areas of international labour, refugee, humanitarian, and criminal law. Part Two addresses the reception of international human rights norms in Canadian domestic law. Part Three is devoted to the promotion and protection of human rights in Canadian, international, and (to a lesser extent) foreign law.

“As the first comprehensive Canadian international human rights law text, this volume provides a particularly illuminating Canadian perspective and approach to the subject, including a very useful consideration of our domestic reception of international human rights law.”

 From the foreword by Louise Arbour

The Globalized Rule of Law


GlobalizedFrom different angles and through a variety of lenses, the papers in this collection examine the relationships between international and domestic law and the treatment of international law by Canadian governments, parliamentarians, and the courts.

My contributions are chapter three, “What Is Reception Law?” and chapter seven, “Labour Conventions and Comprehensive Claims Agreements: A New Model for Subfederal Participation in Canadian International Treaty-Making” (with Stefan Matiation).

The Canadian Yearbook of International Law

CONTRIBUTOR • 2004 to present

I have prepared the Yearbook’s Canadian case law summaries (alone or with the assistance of colleagues) since 2004.

I have also published articles and book reviews in the Yearbook from time to time since 1998.