Where there's a law, there's a loophole. Unintended consequences, both positive and negative, inevitably flow from legislative schemes and regulations and in certain cases have a greater impact than the actual law. Closing such loopholes is a difficult and delicate task, as any changes made with the view of 'improving' the law tend to have unanticipated consequences of their own. The articles in this issue consider unintended consequences in the criminal and corporate law contexts (although unfortunately not the criminal-corporate law context) and propose new frameworks of analysis and action that if not able to vanquish the spectre of unintended consequences at least render it less threatening.
Criminal convictions bring with them civil consequences distinct from the penalty, whether it be imprisonment or fine, imposed on the offender. Until the 2002 Supreme Court of Canada decision in Sauve v Canada, prisoners were denied voting rights under the Canada Elections Act, even though such denial was unrelated to their sentences. Restrictions and prohibitions on the possession of firearms, loss of immigration appeal rights, and severe social stigma are among the current collateral consequences of criminal convictions and sentences. The first article of this issue advocates a new framework for the consideration of collateral consequences in the sentencing process and, to that end, proposes a new classification of those consequences.
Corporations are generally taken to be rational economic actors and laws and regulations in relation to corporations are often understood in terms of costs and incentives. Corporations will shirk their duties as long as it is economically efficient for them to do so, that is, as long as the gains from their behaviour outweigh the costs associated with non-compliance. Moreover, corporate law theorists frequently advocate a regulatory framework that prices corporate penalties efficiently so that enforcement costs do not outweigh the costs imposed on third parties by corporate malfeasance. The three remaining articles in this issue recommend new initiatives to...