Blaise Cathcart KC


Blaise Cathcart KC

Senior Fellow | Lieber
Canadian Judge Advocate General (Ret)

Major-General (ret’d) Blaise Cathcart served as the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) from 2010-2017. He joined the CAF as a legal officer with the Office of the Judge Advocate General in 1990.

Serving over 7 seven years as the JAG, he directly advised the Government of Canada, the Governor-General of Canada, the Minister of National Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Deputy Minister of National Defence on matters of military law. He was also the superintendent of the administration of the Canadian military justice system which is comparable to the role the Attorney-General in the civilian criminal justice system.

He served in a number of positions within the Office of the JAG and has a breadth of knowledge and experience, particularly in the areas of operational and international law. He has provided legal advice on issues arising from domestic and international operations and was intimately involved in providing legal advice at all levels (tactical, operational and strategic).

He has participated in many CAF missions as a legal advisor, including as legal advisor to Commander Canadian Contingent United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and the United Nation Peace Forces (UNPF) in the former Yugoslavia in 1994 and 1995, and as the Senior Legal Advisor to the Commander Canadian Task Force Bosnia-Herzegovina (SFOR) from February to September 2000. He was the legal advisor to Joint Task Force 2, the Canadian Armed Forces Counter-Terrorism/Special Operations unit from 1997-2000.

Blaise has participated in multiple expert working groups, including those on the Guidelines on Investigating Violations of International Humanitarian Law: Law, Policy, And Good Practice (ICRC and the Geneva Academy) and the Direct Participation by Civilians in Hostilities (ICRC). He has authored several chapters on operational and international law in The Handbook of the International Law of Military Operations (OUP) and Convergence and Conflicts: Of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in Military Operations (Pretoria University Law Press). His degrees include a LL.M (Distinction – London School of Economics), LL.B (Dalhousie law School), MA (University of Ottawa) and BA Hons (Saint Mary’s University).

He was awarded the prestigious appointment of Queen’s Counsel (QC), in 2013, in the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada.

He was also awarded a distinguished Honourary Doctor of Civil Law, in 2014, from Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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