This paper examines the influence of the Charter over the development of victims’ rights through provincial and federal legislative reform and related jurisprudence. It discusses how the role of the victim has evolved from one of silent observer to one with significant procedural protections, welfare rights and limited rights of standing in criminal proceedings. It the n examines the Charter’s role in this evolution and discusses how the Charter has served as a vehicle by which Parliament and the courts have advanced the procedural, substantive and welfare rights of victims in the criminal justice system. Particular attention is given to the Charter’s influence on the numerous amendments to the Criminal Code over the last 25 years, which are designed to enhance the procedural, welfare and substantive rights of victims in criminal proceedings, as well as the related jurisprudence emanating from the courts. There is also a discussion of the Charter’s influence on the enactment of victims’ bills of rights throughout Canada. The paper the n questions whether the increase in victims’ rights stemming from the enactment of the Charter has translated into increased victim satisfaction or whether the Charter is yet another source of false hopes for victims of crime. In addressing this question, the paper discusses how other outsiders to the criminal process, including the media, have used the Charter to gain standing in criminal proceedings with greater success than victims. Finally, it considers some of the remaining challenges and whether there are other viable measures available to address the lingering dissatisfaction of victims with the criminal justice system.
"Expanding Victims’ Rights in the Charter Era and Beyond."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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