Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2111652
 


 



Sexual Assault Cases in the Supreme Court of Canada: Losing Sight of Substantive Equality?


Emma Cunliffe


University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law

2012

(2012) 57 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 295-316

Abstract:     
The equality guarantee contained in section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has prompted reforms that protect women as complainants in sexual assault cases. This article considers the effectiveness of these reforms. Part 2 supplies a history of the relationships between consent, trial procedure, and substantive equality in sexual assault law. The author argues that substantive equality has had a significant effect on both substance and procedure. Part 3 examines the impact of these reforms by considering the extent to which substantive equality has infused judicial reasoning and fact determination in contested sexual assault cases. Specifically, the author focuses on the factual reasoning in the three sexual assault cases decided by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in 2011 (R v JAA 2011 SCC 17; R v JA 2011 SCC 28; R v JMH 2011 SCC 45).

The author's analysis shows that substantive equality reasoning has not yet infused judicial approaches to fact determination in sexual assault cases, and that individual complainants are not yet fully protected against the operation of myths and stereotypes when consent or credibility are at stake. She suggests in conclusion that the SCC has a leading role to play in moving judicial reasoning towards a more egalitarian approach to fact determination.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, equality, section 15, sexual assault, judicial reasoning, fact determination, stereotypes, proof

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Date posted: February 14, 2013 ; Last revised: May 14, 2013

Suggested Citation

Cunliffe, Emma, Sexual Assault Cases in the Supreme Court of Canada: Losing Sight of Substantive Equality? (2012). (2012) 57 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 295-316. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2111652

Contact Information

Emma Cunliffe (Contact Author)
University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law ( email )
1822 East Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1
Canada
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