Canada and the Netherlands represent two extremes in unfitness to stand trial practices. In Canada, a substantial number of defendants are found unfit annually, while in the Netherlands the practice has been limited to just a few cases in the past two centuries. In explaining this contrast, most comparisons point solely at differences in criminal procedure. The authors conclude that for a complete understanding, it is necessary also to explore areas of substantive criminal law and (civil) mental health law. The relationship with the responsibility criterion and with the values underlying civil commitment and enforced treatment for example are found to be of significance for the unfitness to stand trial practice. As a result of this improved understanding of the contrast, it is possible to evaluate the two systems, the one in light of the other.

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International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Erasmus School of Law

van der Wolf, M., van Marle, H., Mevis, P., & Roesch, R. (2010). Understanding and Evaluating Contrasting Unfitness to Stand Trial Practices: A Comparison between Canada and the Netherlands. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 9(3), 245–258. doi:10.1080/14999013.2010.522221