Instructor(s): Kent Roach, Amanda Carling

For graduate students, the course number is LAW3027H.

This seminar will examine how wrongful convictions occur and the variety of reforms that can be taken to minimize the risk of wrongful convictions and to provide redress when they do occur. We will examine how police, expert witnesses, prosecutors, defence lawyers, juries, trial judges and appellate courts all can contribute to wrongful convictions. We will also examine how Indigenous people and other disadvantaged groups may be especially vulnerable to wrongful convictions and face particular challenges in finding remedies. Issues to be examined include eyewitness identification, jailhouse informants, forensic science, DNA exonerations, the appeal process, and the interaction of the appeal process with references from the Minister of Justice or from a Criminal Cases Review Commission. We will also examine the role of the media, advocacy groups, the executive and independent commissions in redressing wrongful convictions. The approach will be comparative drawing on experience not only in Canada but in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. We will also examine the significance of wrongful convictions as a reform issue in criminal justice, in relation to systemic discrimination and racism and in relation to the death penalty.

A research paper of a minimum of 6000 words (80%) and class participation 20% (5% attendance, 5% contributions to class discussion, and 10% short comment papers (250 words each) on 2 readings of your choice and a research paper proposal of 500 words. Students may satisfy the Perspective Requirement and complete a SUYRP in this course.

At a Glance

First Term
Perspective course


22 JD


Th: 4:10 - 7:00