This paper explores the conditions under which a criminal law may be said to be arbitrary and, thus, constitutionally infirm. A finding of arbitrariness is a profound condemnation. Though the doctrine has re-emerged in recent Canadian jurisprudence, it remains largely unexplored. Some cases purport to apply a stringent test, requiring that the law fail completely to establish a logical link between, say, its goals and means. Other cases hint at a broader approach. The broader model can be satisfied in a number of situations: where a law is radically under-inclusive; where it fails to establish that particular harms are sufficiently distinct to warrant different legal treatment; or where it betrays illegitimate state goals. All of those situations present fatal challenges to validity. Recognizing them would develop a concept of arbitrariness that better accords with fundamental justice and respect for individual liberty.
Our 2020 Annual Conference was scheduled to be held at the University of Wrocław in Poland on July 9-11, 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICON·S Executive Committee has decided to postpone our 2020 Conference to 2021. Our next Annual Conference will take place from July 8-10, 2021, in Wrocław, Poland.
Procedural details regarding the organization of the 2021 Conference will follow in the months ahead.Join ICON•S