Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Federal Paramountcy Definition:

A doctrine of constitutional law which gives priority to the application of a federal statute where those terms conflict with the operation of a provincial statute.

Related Terms: Federalism, Interjurisdictional Immunity

In Canadian Western Bank , Canada's Supreme Court wrote:

"According to the doctrine of federal paramountcy, when the operational effects of provincial legislation are incompatible with federal legislation, the federal legislation must prevail and the provincial legislation is rendered inoperative to the extent of the incompatibility. The doctrine applies not only to cases in which the provincial legislature has legislated pursuant to its ancillary power to trench on an area of federal jurisdiction, but also to situations in which the provincial legislature acts within its primary powers, and Parliament pursuant to its ancillary powers ....

"Of course, the main difficulty consists in determining the degree of incompatibility needed to trigger the application of the doctrine of federal paramountcy."


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