Almost every constitution in the world confers a power to pardon. Pardon powers are found in the constitutions of old states and new states, Western states and non-Western states, states with a Christian tradition and states without one. Pardon powers are part of the constitutions of states as diverse as France, Indonesia, Peru, Russia, the United […]
I’ve been working on a series of papers about mercy. My latest is a discussion of when the government acts mercifully, if indeed it ever does. Here’s the abstract: A pardon is an act of mercy according to the law, but is a pardon mercy in an ordinary or genuine sense? What distinguishes a pardon […]
If one is allowed to have a favourite prerogative power, the prerogative of mercy is mine. The prerogative of mercy’s only uses are to lift punishment and to lessen suffering. Who could object to that? Yet this “most amiable prerogative” is often under attack.
Judges in Commonwealth jurisdictions are increasingly willing to review the executive’s decisions to grant or refuse mercy (ie, decisions to grant or refuse a request for a pardon or remission of a sentence for a criminal offence). Here I want to sketch the developments and mention a few interesting differences and commonalities. I’ll focus on […]