Case Note

Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 185-193

First online:

The Canadian Supreme Court and Domestic Violence: R v Ryan, 2013 SCC 3

  • Ronagh J. A. McQuiggAffiliated withSchool of Law, Queen’s University Belfast Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This paper analyses the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of R v Ryan, 2013 SCC 3. This is a very significant decision from a variety of perspectives. The judgment is an important addition to the Canadian criminal law jurisprudence as it clarifies the scope of the defence of duress. However, from a feminist perspective, the case also highlights issues relating to situations in which victims of domestic violence eventually kill their partners following long cycles of abuse. In addition, the judgment serves as a reminder of the substantial problems which still exist regarding the responses of criminal justice systems to victims of domestic violence and the abuse they have suffered.


Domestic violence Criminal justice responses Supreme Court of Canada Duress Self defence