Gender Equality, Social Values and Provocation Law in the United States, Canada and Australia

13 American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy, and the Law (forthcoming 2006)


In this article I examine and compare the partial defense of provocation as it applies to domestic homicide in Australia, Canada, and the United States on both the gendered-male basis of jealous rage and gendered-female basis of fear. I explain why substantive equality, prevalent under Canadian constitutional law, has not resulted in woman-friendly provocation rules in Canada and the United States and why Australia is the leader in incorporating substantive equality into its provocation doctrine. I conclude that the main reason why some Australian jurisdictions have abolished provocation and others have female-friendly versions of the doctrine is that, unlike Canada and the United States, some Australian states do not have mandatory minimum sentencing for either murder or manslaughter. I further conclude that social norms have incorporated substantive equality into application of provocation law in all three countries and that therefore there may not be as great a need to reform the law of provocation as there has been in the past.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Law and Gender | Law and Society

Date of this Version

February 2006