Every Moment Counts: The Legal Value of Time in Canadian Criminal Law and Procedure
(2021) 69 Criminal Law Quarterly 63
26 Pages Posted: 12 May 2021 Last revised: 5 Jan 2022
Date Written: 2021
Time plays a significant role in the life of the law. Drawing on the work of Elizabeth F. Cohen regarding the political value of time, this article examines the legal value of time. Focusing on Canadian criminal law and procedure, the article illustrates how time is tightly woven into the fabric of various constitutional, statutory and common law norms. As examples, time is fundamental to sentencing, in addition to determining significant issues such as the scope of criminal liability for serious crimes (e.g. first degree murder), whether an accused should be acquitted on the basis of a defence, or whether evidence should be admitted or excluded. This article explores two ways in which time is employed: scientifically measured durational time (drawing from Cohen’s work) and context-sensitive determined time.
Keywords: temporality, time and criminal law, constitutional protections, criminal procedure, murder, defences, sentencing
JEL Classification: K14, K10, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation