Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.815998
Title: Conceptions of harm in the Canadian constitutional adjudication of religious freedom
Author: Keall, Ashleigh
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 3393
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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Abstract:
My research examines the constitutional protection of religious freedom in Canada under section 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In particular, it considers how courts understand and apply the concept of harm in negotiating the boundaries of the right and in settling conflicts with other rights and social goals. The concept of harm is frequently invoked but rarely acknowledged by courts deciding constitutional religion cases, and is under-theorized in the academic work on religious freedom in Canada. I maintain that harm performs a crucial role at each stage of the constitutional analysis, both explicitly and implicitly, and that judges’ recourse to harm is often unthinking and reflexive. My research explores both this functional role that harm plays in the judgments, which I break down into its legitimating, jurisdictional and normative functions, and the particular conceptions of harm that are adopted by courts deciding on the reach of the section 2(a) rights provision. I consider harm’s function and meaning through the lens of critical approaches to the concept of harm developed in critical and feminist legal theory. I argue that despite the many challenges that can and should be levied against the use of harm as a legal construct, harm is so deeply embedded in the culture, doctrine and structure of Canadian constitutional law’s protection of religious freedom that it can be neither disregarded nor dismissed. It falls to courts to adopt a more critical and reflective approach to harm that works with rather than against the powerful pull to harm in religious freedom cases.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.815998  DOI: Not available
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