Civil Asset Forfeiture: An Economic Analysis of Ontario and British Columbia

26 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2015

Date Written: April 19, 2015


This paper compares and analyzes the incentive structure of Ontario and British Columbia’s civil asset forfeiture regimes. Part one surveys the American civil forfeiture experience to draw out theoretical considerations from American academia and inform a discussion of Canadian law. Part two compares the Ontario and British Columbia civil forfeiture regimes and identifies institutional incentives and barriers embedded in the framework of the forfeiture regimes in each province. Part three uses empirical data to explain how Ontario and British Columbia’s incentive structures affect civil forfeiture’s use. The paper argues there is an optimal allocation of resources towards the use of civil forfeiture, and that such optimization is ultimately influenced by the province’s incentive structure. Finally, part four undertakes a discussion of the potential effects that the inefficient use of civil forfeiture may have on the broader economy.

Keywords: Civil asset forfeiture, law and economics, civil forfeiture, economics, public enforcers, organizational behaviour, incentive-driven behaviour, legislative remedies, law enforcement resources, institutional frameworks, procedural incentives, financial incentives, institutional barriers, comparative

Suggested Citation

Daley, Patrick, Civil Asset Forfeiture: An Economic Analysis of Ontario and British Columbia (April 19, 2015). Western Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2015, Available at SSRN:

Patrick Daley (Contact Author)

Western University ( email )

1151 Richmond St
London, Ontario N6A 3K7

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