The Limits of Legislation as a Tool of Reform: A Study of the Westray Reform to Organizational Sentencing

Jennifer A. Quaid, "The Limits of Legislation as a Tool of Reform: A Study of the Westray Reform to Organizational Sentencing," (2020) 54 R.J.T.U.M. 511-567.

44 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2020 Last revised: 10 Dec 2020

See all articles by Jennifer Quaid

Jennifer Quaid

University of Ottawa - Civil Law Section

Date Written: May 7, 2020

Abstract

English Abstract: These days, law reform is almost always couched in terms of new or amending legislation. While politically expedient, the notion that concrete change on the ground will naturally flow from the mere fact of making changes to the written text of a legislative provision belies common sense. This is even more true where the goals of reform efforts are directed at how legal rules that are modulated by the exercise of substantial discretion. In this paper, I consider the limits of legislation as a tool of law reform through the lens of the 2003 Westray Law, which sought to reform to organizational sentencing by adding new provisions to Part XXIII of the Criminal Code. Drawing on analysis of the impact of the reforms on organizational sentencing practice from 2004-2019, I conclude that given the characteristics of organizational sentencing practice, effective reform requires a modified approach where legislation is complemented with measures such as administrative guidance and training, to support those whose discretion is central to the application of the law.

NOTE: Attached pdf is the final pre-publication copy-edited version of paper.

French Abstract: De nos jours, la réforme du droit prend souvent la forme d’une modification législative. Cette approche est certes commode sur le plan politique, mais l’idée que l’on puisse effectuer des changements concrets par le seul fait de modifier le libellé d’une disposition législative défie le bon sens. Ce constat a davantage de force lorsqu’il est question de modifier une disposition dont la mise en application pratique découle de l’exercice d’une discrétion substantielle. Dans ce texte, j’examine les limites de la modification législative comme moyen d’effectuer une véritable réforme du droit de la perspective de la loi Westray (2003) qui, en ajoutant des nouvelles dispositions à la Partie XXIII du Code criminel, cherchait à améliorer l’efficacité du régime d’imposition de la peine applicable aux organisations. Sur la foi d’une étude approfondie de l’impact des modifications sur les peines imposées depuis la réforme (2004-2019), j’arrive à la conclusion qu’en raison des qualités propres au processus d’imposition de la peine aux organisations, pour accomplir une réforme efficace dans ce domaine, il serait souhaitable d’adopter une approche modifiée. Cette approche jumellerait la modification législative à des mesures d’appui, comme des lignes directrices et de la formation, destinées à ceux qui sont, par leur pourvoir discrétionnaire, appelés à mettre en application la loi.

NOTE: La version pdf ci-joint est la version finale vérifiée mais non mise en page de l'article.

Keywords: Corporate Criminal Law, Organizations, Sentencing, Westray Law, Law Reform, Business Crime

JEL Classification: K14, K21, K22

Suggested Citation

Quaid, Jennifer, The Limits of Legislation as a Tool of Reform: A Study of the Westray Reform to Organizational Sentencing (May 7, 2020). Jennifer A. Quaid, "The Limits of Legislation as a Tool of Reform: A Study of the Westray Reform to Organizational Sentencing," (2020) 54 R.J.T.U.M. 511-567., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3597452

Jennifer Quaid (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Civil Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Dr
Ottawa
Canada
613-562-5800 x 3240 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://droitcivil.uottawa.ca/en/people/quaid-jennifer

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