Interested in any jurisdiction, and in fact especially interested in seeing comparative perspectives between different jurisdictions.

Is it:

  • a mental state of not objecting or even enthusiastically enjoying something, or;
  • The active communication of such lack of objection to it?

Do(es) the legal meaning(s) differ from the ordinary meaning(s)? Does the definition used depend on context, within the relevant jurisdiction answered for?

Especially though not exclusively interested in the term’s meaning in a context of possible sexual assault, but even more especially interested in contrasts between the meanings in such contexts and those that are operative in others.

2 Answers 2


Criminal Code, s. 273.1:

Subject to subsection (2) and subsection 265(3), consent means, for the purposes of sections 271, 272 and 273, the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.

Consent for the purpose of sexual assault is only the subjective consent by the complainant. "For the purposes of the actus reus 'consent' means that the complainant in her mind wanted the sexual touching to take place" (R. v. Ewanchuk, [1999] 1 SCR 330).


To consent means to voluntarily agree. Consent may exist in absence of communication, but in absence of communication there is no way to know if consent exits. Enjoyment is not an element of consent.

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