Faculty voices

April 2011
A recurring column presenting select excerpts from Faculty members’ comments on events in the news. In this edition, Stephen A. Scott, Professor Emeritus of Law, talks about the natural connection between law and politics and François Crépeau, Professor in Public International Law, tackles the question of pressing criminal charges for violent behaviour in sports, following Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara’s hit against Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty in March.

Y a-t-il trop d’avocat en politique?

Publié dans La Presse, 15 avril 2011

… il y a les noms connus, les Maxime Bernier et Christian Paradis, pour les conservateurs, Martin Cauchon, chez les libéraux, ou Thomas Mulcair, pour les néo-démocrates. Mais il y en a d’autres. Juste au Québec, près d’une trentaine d’avocats se présentent pour les quatre principaux partis…

Il n’est pourtant pas si étonnant de voir autant d’avocats attirés par la politique. «C’est un prolongement de carrière naturel», dit le professeur Stephen A. Scott, de la faculté de droit de l’Université McGill. Celui-ci souligne que, par leur formation et leur pratique, les avocats sont notamment bien armés pour lire et rédiger des lois et interroger des adversaires: bref, ils sont prêts à intervenir dans le processus législatif, probablement mieux que quiconque.


Chances of conviction seen as remote

Published in the Montreal Gazette, March 10 2011

If a Montreal police investigation leads to Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara facing criminal charges, it wouldn’t be the first time a hockey player landed in court. But many in the legal profession doubt whether court is the place to deal with Chara’s Tuesday night hit against Max Pacioretty that sent the Hab’s forward to hospital with a severe concussion and a fractured cervical vertebra…

Still, McGill law professor François Crépeau said there’s no reason the case shouldn’t go to court. Hockey players, like any professionals, should be held to standards of conduct, he said.

“In any normal activity, violence that’s uncalled for is a case for damages, and may be a case for criminal charges,” he said. But Crépeau says it will take years for people to apply this to major league hockey, just like it took years for people to realize that rape was violence, not sex. “We have to determine that violence in hockey is as unacceptable in the major league as it is in the minor league.

“It will take time, but it will come.”

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