Professor Sidney Picker

- Quote from Professor Picker

"During the course of the 30 years the Institute has taken on an even more significant role. ...[I]t has not merely provided a scholarly public forum for the examination of Canada-United States legal issues, the Institute has become an annual gathering place for public and private practitioners and leaders of the special bi-national relationship to exchange views and explore the fundamental policies driving that relationship. More significant, through the development of its Annual Conference, it has become part of the non-governmental 'scene', a de facto NGO quasi–'White Paper' producer whose credibility and quality derives as much from the quality of its product as from its academic sponsor/organizers and its peculiar mix of public and private based professional participants."


Prof. Henry T. King, Jr
US Director & Chair

- Quote from Henry T. King

"I believe that an individual can accomplish the most good for society through the building of institutions. I have tried to create strong institutions at every stage of my life, particularly in two regards. First, based on my experiences at Nuremberg, I have worked tirelessly to assist in the creation of the International Criminal Court at the Hague, Netherlands. Secondly, and perhaps the one from which I take the greatest pride, is the success of the Canada-United States Law Institute. We have created something here that not only benefits our students, faculties, and members but our nations as a whole. We must ensure that the next generation of leadership ensures that the Institute continues to build on its tradition of success."








General Introduction

The Canada-United States Law Institute ("CUSLI" or the "Institute") is a bi-national, not-for-profit, multi-disciplinary entity jointly founded in 1976 and owned and continuously operated by Case Western Reserve University School of Law located Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Case Western Reserve University School of Law) and the Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario located in London, Ontario, Canada (Western Law). Case Western Reserve University School of Law Professor Emeritus Sidney A. Picker, Jr. was the individual founder of CUSLI.

CUSLI serves as a forum where the respective governments, business communities, legal professionals, scholars, non-governmental organizations, and the media examine and resolve the issues confronting the Canada-United States relationship.

CUSLI specifically aims:
  • to establish institutional and professional linkages between Canada and the United States;
  • to provide its members with current resources and continuing education regarding the bilateral relationship;
  • to afford comparative law and research opportunities to the students and faculties at member institutions, as well as the private and public bars in each country.
CUSLI promotes its objectives by sponsoring Canada-U.S. based Curriculum at each Founding Institution, establishing student and faculty exchanges between the law faculties of its Founding Institutions, as well as institutions throughout North America , sponsoring conferences, and publishing the Canada-United States Law Journal - the exclusive academic journal focusing on the Canada-United States legal relationship.
CUSLI also annually sponsors the Niagara International Moot Court Competition that draws law schools from throughout Canada and the United States to address a hypothetical problem through written and oral advocacy.
CUSLI is comprised of three sub-entities, The
  1. Founding Institutions;
  2. Advisory Board; and
  3. Executive Committee.
The Founding Institutions own CUSLI and have final authority in all matters. However, the Founding Institutions have delegated operating authority to the Executive Committee.

The CUSLI Secretariat is located at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 11075 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 44106. CUSLI maintains a professional staff at the Secretariat.

CUSLI also is supported by the Canada-United States Law Institute Student Committee at each law faculty. Student Committee

The History of the Institute

The Canada-United States Law Institute (CUSLI or the Institute) had its genesis in 1973 when the American Society of International Law (ASIL) asked Case Western Reserve University School of Law Professor Sidney Picker , to put on a regional conference of ASIL on any subject of his choosing. Figuring Cleveland was closer to Canada than any other foreign country, Professor Picker chose a Canadian subject, U.S.-Canada Energy Resource Development, organized with assistance from the Canadian Consul in Cleveland and the then Dean of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Ronald St. J. Macdonald. The conference included attendees from the respective governments, industries and Universities. So successful was the conference that the next year the ASIL asked Professor Picker to repeat the performance. His second conference was U.S.-Canada Trade Negotiations in Washington, D.C. The proceedings of each conference were published by Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law.

"The success of the ASIL conferences confirmed my belief that there was a need for a permanent law school based institution focusing on the legal relationship between Canada and the United States," reflects Professor Picker. "To my surprise, none existed at the time, notwithstanding the fact many American law schools had foreign legal studies programs covering most parts of the world, though none at the time was as important in trade, investment, or notational security terms as Canada. While the governments had channels for dialogue and there were a number of non-governmental academic associations dealing with Canada-U.S. business, cultural and social relationships, none focused on the cross-border legal relationship." Consequently Professor Picker embarked on establishing a permanent institution at the CWRU Law.

Institute Plan

Professor Picker envisioned an institution that would serve two purposes: first, it would provide a base for the academic examination of legal issues affecting the special Canada-U.S. relationship; and second, it would provide a fertile foundation for exploiting comparative law opportunities between law schools in the two countries. These purposes, the mission of the institute, would be accomplished through a series of programs, including student exchanges and moot court programs, sponsorship of research on Canada-U.S. subjects, and the publication of a scholarly journal.
In order to provide symmetry as well as avoid any patronizing appearance of an American foreign studies program, Professor Picker insisted that such an Institute be established and operated not by CWRU Law alone but rather jointly and equally by CWRU Law in Cleveland, and a sister law school in Canada. To help him find a Canadian partner, the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. provided him with a travel grant. Professor Picker visited a half dozen Canadian universities, including the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law (Western Law), located in London, Ontario. Based on Western Law's initial indication of interest coupled with its physical proximity to CWRU Law, its faculty and the CWRU Law faculty each established a committee of faculty and students to visit one another in order to assess the feasibility of establishing a jointly operated ongoing series of academic programs under the aegis of a permanent Institute. Following favorable Committee recommendations the two law faculties agreed on the establishment of the Canada-United States Law Institute.

Initial Funding

Professor Picker meanwhile pursued funding for the various programs the Institute would undertake. The governments of Canada and the United States, through their respective embassies, each awarded grants to the Institute. Professor Picker secured additional grants from the William H. Donner Foundation and two Cleveland-based organizations, the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation. The Richard Ivey Foundation and the Ontario Bar Foundation provided a series of grants to Western Law on behalf of the Institute. The Institute ultimately secured US $200,000.00 in governmental and private grants.

Establishment of the Institute

The Institute commenced operations in October 1976 with a high profile pair of opening ceremonies, one in Cleveland, Ohio (with Hon. J.H. Warren, Canadian Ambassador to the United States, officiating) and one in London, Ontario (with Hon. Thomas O. Enders, U.S. Ambassador to Canada, officiating). Professor Picker, on behalf of CWRU Law, assumed initial responsibility for the Institute's operations in his capacity as the Institute's first Canadian Director. An Advisory Committee comprised of John Sloan Dickey, Hon. W.Z. Estey, R.M. Ivey, Henry T. King, Jr., C. Calvert Knudson, Monroe Leigh, Myres S. McDougal, and D. Carlton Williams provided guidance and support to the Institute's directors.

Student Exchanges

In its inaugural year the institute sponsored the semester exchange, for full academic credit, of 4 students, two each from CWRU Law (Ray Zenkert and Gidijus Marcinkevicius) and Western Law(Diane Haskett, who later served as Mayor of London, and Rosemary McCarney, later a member of the Institute's Advisory Board). By 1977-78 student exchange participation expanded to the authorized maximum of twelve students, six from each law school.

Faculty Exchanges

The Institute also implemented faculty exchanges beginning in its inaugural year. These began with up to 6 faculty members each semester from each law school making 2-3 day visits to the other law school, serving as guest lecturers in specific courses in their areas of expertise (thus providing a comparative an international law perspective to students of the host schoo). These faculty visits, occurred on an average of once every two weeks. Beyond providing comparative law opportunities in a broad spectrum of course offerings, the faculty visits promoted a close working relationship between respective law faculty members working in the same discipline. In addition, faculty at each law school included as foreign examples in their regular courses selected legal principles from the other country. Beginning with the visit of CWRU Law Professor Ronald Coffey to WesternLaw in 1978 (who offered a comparative securities regulation seminar), faculty members began to teach semester long courses across the border and tailor existing courses to the Canada-United States relationship. Examples include the establishment at CWRU Law of a Comparative Canada-US. Constitutional Law; course and a Comparative Tax Policy; a seminar taught jointly by a Western Law and a CWRU Law tax professor. Such faculty activities in turn stimulated the production of a number of Institute-sponsored scholarly articles on Canada-US comparative law or selected aspects of theCanada-U.S. relationship, all published in the Canada-United States Law Journal. (See below). Finally, the respective law schools tailored regular course offering to include Canada-U.S. related subjects or content.


The Institute sponsored its first conference on September 30, 1977 as a one day workshop in London, Ontario addressing the Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Anti-Trust Legislation in Canada. Nearly a month later, it co-sponsored a conference jointly with the Canadian Council on International Law entitled, Canada-US. Relations: Cooperation & Dispute Settlement in the North American Context. Topics discussed during this joint conference addressed boundaries and resource issues, pollution, and trade and investments. Thereafter, conferences were scheduled throughout the academic calendar. Examples include conferences on Transnational Taxation held on April 21, 1978 and Steel Dumping in Canada and the United States held Sept. 29-30, 1978 both in Cleveland. By 1982 the Institute offered its first off-campus conference (an update on the Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty ) in Toronto, tailored principally to the practicing bar.

Perhaps the highlight of these early conferences was the Institute's October, 1979 offering, Comparison of the Role of the Supreme Court in Canada and the United States. The two principal participants (discussing the importance of the rule of law and the role of courts in democratic societies) were U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart and Canadian Supreme Court Justice Brian Dixon on a panel moderated by Professor Lawrence Tribe. According to Justice Dixon, this was the first time in the history of the two countries that justices from the two supreme courts were ever called on to participate in a substantive or scholarly program of any kind.

Canada-United States Law Journal (CUSLJ)
By the summer of 1978, with the assistance of the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law at CWRU Law, the Institute established the Canada-United States Law Journal. The first issue published the proceedings of the joint CUSLI-Canadian Council on International Law conference in the first volume of the Canada-United States Law Journal, issued in the summer of 1978. Subsequent CUSLJ issues, published annually, always included the symposia of Institute-sponsored conferences as well as of Institute-sponsored scholarly articles, comments and notes. The first such published article was that of CWRU Law Professor Lewis J. Katz, comparing police practices in the U.S. and in Canada regarding the exclusionary rule of evidence. Subsequent issues included articles on such issues as a comparison of municipal transportation systems in the two countries, sex discrimination, and an examination of constitutional principles in the two societies.

Niagara International Moot Court Competition

Prior to the Institute's involvement in the Niagara International Moot Court, the event was an ad hoc competition operated informally between six to eight law schools located in the Niagara Falls region. The Niagara was a moot court experience before the World Court. It differed form the American Society of International Law-sponsored Jessup Moot Court competition in that countries were Canada and the U.S. not hypothetically made up states, and the problems, though hypothetical, related to the Canadian -American experience. Unlike the Jessup competitions, the Niagara teams came from Canadian and American law schools. Given the name and interest, it normally involved six to eight law schools in the Niagara Falls/Great Lakes region. Because of the ad hoc nature of the competition, rules and the administration of the competition varied from year to year, depending upon which law school won the previous year. In 1979 the competition was absorbed as part of the program offerings of the Canada-United States Law Institute in order to provide continuity, organization, uniformity of rules and an orderly system for the structure and judging of the competition.

Administration Modifications

In the summer of 1979, the first change in administration occurred when Professor Phillip Slayton succeeded Professor Roberts as the Canadian Director of the institute. In that same year, Rosemary McCarney, a Western Law graduate and one of the original student exchanges in 1976-77, was engaged by CWRU Law to serve both in the newly established position of Institute Coordinator, to help administer the Institute, and to teach Criminal Law at Case with a Canadian comparative law content.
The most significant administration modification occurred in 1983 when Henry T. King, Jr., a former Nuremberg prosecutor and just retiring from his position as Chief Corporate International Counsel/General Counsel Automotive Group at TRW, Inc., succeeded Professor Picker as the Institute's U.S. director, brining to the Institute his years of corporate and international experience. Prior to assuming this position, Mr. King (now CWRU Law Professor King) had been a member of the original Institute Advisory Committee and provided regular advice in the administration of the Institute as well as assistance in obtaining participants for the various Institute conferences. Professor Picker in turn assumed a new role as Chairman of the newly established Canada-United States Law Institute Advisory Board.

Institute Reorganization

Immediately prior to Professor King's arrival, Professor Picker authorized the introduction of a new conference approach involving a more intensive and extensive format. The conference, organized by Professor Ronald J. Coffrey on Corporate Governance, was designed so that participants and invited attendees would be together in a retreat setting for a 3 day period. Participants prepared written materials distributed to attendees in advance of the conference, and substantial in-depth coverage and interaction were provided over three days with participant-prepared written materials delivered in advance. The extended time, advance preparation and level of participation provided for a more thorough examination of the issues the conferences was designed to raise.

Professor King, on joining the CWRU Law faculty and the U.S. Directorship of the Institute, built on the success of the new conference format. During a speech before the Brookings Institution on January 11, 1984, Professor King, having successfully petitioned the William H. Donner Foundation for support, announced that the Foundation would sponsor three such large-scale conferences organized by the Institute. The first of these, entitled The Legal Aspects of Sector Integration between the United States and Canada, was held April 1984 concerning Canada-U.S. free trade between Professor Mel Watkins and Alan Wolff.

Establishment of the Annual Conference

Based on the success of the initial Donner Foundation-sponsored conference, Professor King adopted the new format as the basis of an Annual Institute Conference, focusing its subject on a selected aspect of the Canada-U.S. economic relationship. Participants and invitees would include leading representatives from governments, the private sector, and the academic communities in both countries. In order to provide continuity, the conferences would always be planned for the Spring of each year, it would always be in Cleveland, and the annual conference would be the centerpiece of Institute activity.

Over the next twenty-two years, the annual conferences served to promote the Institute's missions by gathering 100-150 prominent members of governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as the business, legal and academic communities, in seminars and discussion regarding the issues confronting the Canada-U.S. relations. These conferences addressed issues such as shared technology, sovereignty, the environment, innovation, dispute resolution, and facilitated the development of the North American Free Trade Agreement, (NAFTA). Over time, the Institute's annual conference emerged as a uniquely influential forum for the identification, examination, and resolution of the issues confronting the Canada-United States relationship.

Under Professor King's ongoing tutelage, the annual conferences success and strong repute broadened the scope of individuals supporting the Institutes program's. Legal practitioners from various localities throughout Canada and the United States joined the Institute as members of the Advisory Board. The annual conferences focus on issues relating to the economic and trading relationship between the two countries sparked interest from numerous corporate entities on each side of the border. As a result, these corporate entities provided support to the Institute through the allocation of financial resources and the designation of representatives to serve as Advisory Board members. The federal Government of Canada also recognized the import of the annual conference and provided financial support through its academic and program enhancement grant initiatives.