Civil Remedies and the Criminal Law

I wrote a three-part article in about the problem of civil remedies legislation.  Unfortunately, the Supreme Court of Canada took a different view about the right of the provinces to seize and forfeit property that has a criminal taint to it, in Ontario under the Civil Remedies Act, 2001

The case, in my view, was one of those ones where it is said bad cases make bad law.  The precise issue before the court was whether or not the Province of Ontario could sieze and forfeit in excess of $29,000 cash seized from a young man in a car, without the person being prosecuted for a criminal offence and without any other proceedings being taken under the Criminal Code of Canada.  I am now exploring this problem in another multi-part commentary.


The New Pardon Regime

The Criminal Records Act, the enactment that sets out the procedure for obtaining a criminal pardon, all of sudden is in dire need of revision, only because one sex offender received one three years ago and because Karla Homolka is eligible to apply for one on July 5, 2010.  See the Globe and Mail article "MPs agree to head off Homolka’s bid for pardon"

Although this has all the elements of political pandering in the extreme, it is probably the case that the current law is too generous in providing a waiting period as short as three years and making the granting of pardons contingent only on the passage of time.

As well, you won't hear me complain about there being more work for lawyers to do.

When I mean work, I first mean the obvious challenge to the issue of retroactive application.  If a person is convicted when the old regime was in place, shouldn't he or she have the benefit of the pardon benefits that existed at the time?

Next, lawyers will probably play a more significant role in the pardon application process as the proposed legislation will require candidates for pardons to demonstrate their entitlement.  Right now, anyone who has done one or two of these applications can make a career out of doing applications for others.  This is evident in the significant growth of organizations that offer pardon removal services. 

It will be interesting to see what develops.