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© 2015,In R. v. Ewanchuk, the Supreme Court of Canada held that sexual touching must be accompanied by express, contemporaneous consent. In doing so, the Court rejected the idea that sexual consent could be "implied." Ewanchuk was a landmark ruling, reflecting a powerful commitment to women's equality and sexual autonomy. In articulating limits on the circumstances under which women can be said to "consent" to sexual touching, however, the decision also restricts their autonomy - specifically, by denying them a voice in determining the norms that should govern their intimate relationships and sexual lives. In Implied Consent and Sexual Assault, Michael Plaxton argues that women should have the autonomy to decide whether, and under what circumstances, sexual touching can be appropriate in the absence of express consent. Though caution should be exercised before resurrecting a limited doctrine of implied consent, there are reasons to think that sexual assault law could accommodate a doctrine without undermining the sexual autonomy or equality rights of women. In reaching this conclusion, Plaxton challenges widespread beliefs about autonomy, consent, and the objectives underpinning the offence of sexual assault in Canada. Drawing upon a range of contemporary criminal law theorists and feminist scholars, Implied Consent and Sexual Assault reconsiders the nature of mutuality in a world dominated by gender norms, the proper scope of criminal law, and the true meaning of sexual autonomy.
© 2013,As Canada's final court of appeal, the Supreme Court is a crucial component of the country's legal system. Yet, for much of its almost 140-year history, the highest court in the land dwelled in relative obscurity. More than thirty years since the advent of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which transformed the court's function and thrust its work into the national spotlight, many of us are still in the dark about the Supreme Court's role -- in part because there has been relatively little empirical investigation into how the institution works. In Governing from the Bench, Emmett Macfarlane draws on interviews with current and former justices, law clerks, and other staff members of the court to shed light on the institution's internal environment and decision-making processes. He explores the complex role of the Supreme Court as an institution; exposes the rules, conventions, and norms that shape and constrain its justices' behaviour; and situates the court in its broader governmental and societal context, as it relates to the elected branches of government, the media, and the public. At once enlightening and engaging, Governing from the Bench is a much-needed and comprehensive exploration of an institution that touches the lives of all Canadians. Emmett Macfarlane is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Ontario.