Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Faint Hope Clause Definition:

Canada criminal law: a term in a 25 year prison term that salvages a remote possibility that the individual may be paroled prior to the full completion of the term of incarceration.

Related Terms: Long-Term Offender, Dangerous Offender, Habitual Offender

Section 745.6 of Canada's Criminal Code contains the faint hope provision:

"A person may apply, in writing, to the appropriate Chief Justice in the province in which their conviction took place for a reduction in the number of years of imprisonment without eligibility for parole if the person has been convicted of murder or high treason; has been sentenced to imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole until more than fifteen years of their sentence has been served; and  has served at least fifteen years of their sentence."

The faint hope application is weighed against §745.63(1):

  • "The character of the applicant;
  • The applicant’s conduct while serving the sentence;
  • The nature of the offence for which the applicant was convicted;
  • Any information provided by a victim at the time of the imposition of the sentence or at the time of the (faint hope) hearing... ; and
  • Any other matters that the judge considers relevant in the circumstances."

In R v Cousins, Justice Cameron wrote:

"Section 745.6 (1) of the Criminal Code (the so called faint hope clause) enables a person, who has been found guilty of murder and sentenced to imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole until more than 15 years of the sentence has been served, to apply for a review after 15 years."

French: la disposition dite du faible espoir.


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