Homelessness and the Impossibility to Obey the Law

48 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2017 Last revised: 20 Oct 2017

See all articles by Terry Skolnik

Terry Skolnik

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

Building on Jeremy Waldron's work, this article argues that it can be impossible for homeless people to obey the law in certain contexts. This occurs where there are insufficient public resources to allow homeless people to comply with the law, or the homeless lack the capacity or opportunity to obey quality of life rules. This article explores the moral objections to enforcing quality of life rules in such circumstances, how courts view homeless people's impossibility to obey the law, as well as policy and litigation strategies applicable in such cases.

Keywords: homelessness, impossibility, poverty, criminalization, punishment, constitutional law

JEL Classification: K10, K11, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Skolnik, Terry, Homelessness and the Impossibility to Obey the Law (2016). (2016) 43 Fordham Urban Law Journal 741, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3048807

Terry Skolnik (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Dr
Ottawa
Canada

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