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LWSO 201 (30)

LWSO201 - Canadian Court Structure_14.doc

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Law and Society
LWSO 201
Marywyatt Sindlinger

Canadian Court Structure 1) Key Features of Our Courts a) Role is to adjudicate disputes b) Open and Universal c) Independent 2) Levels of Courts: a) Provincial and Territorial Courts: Provincial Court of Alberta i) Family Division ii) Criminal Division iii) Youth Division iv) Small Claims/Civil Division v) NB: These are referred to as the Inferior Courts of the Province b) Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta i) A superior court of the province ii) Can be either a trial court or an appeal court from decisions of the provincial court c) Court of Appeal of Alberta – superior court of the province i) Hears appeals only d) Supreme Court of Canada i) Leave to appeal required but rarely granted ii) Leave to appeal may be automatic in some criminal cases e) Other Courts i) Federal Court of Canada ii) Tax Court of Canada iii) Military Courts f) Participants in the Legal System i) Judges ii) Juries iii) Layers iv) Litigants 1-government action (piece of legislation,etc) 2 - negatively effect an individual or a group, 3 - raise a charter challenge to the courts and MUST prove there has been a violation of some sort (if section 15 - must prove a distinction has been made and it's discriminatory) - if they establish this then the burden shifts to the government to establish the sanction has been saved by section one (oaks test and proportionality test), if it's not saved by section one - what? • courts adjudicate disputes • a dispute - a conflict of legal claims or rights • take it to courts and go through adjudicative process ( process through which both sides present arguments and evidence and the courts come to a decision) • most disputes never get to the court house • cases that do go to court - harder what the facts are, or what the law is 3 cases to know: • private disputes - between private individuals (car accidents, marriage) • people, businesses, corporations • you can have a private law suit involving the government (ex. hire a cafeteria in a building) public initiated disputes • state initiates a law suit against an individual • generally involves criminatory behaviour • state control of • public defendant disputes • government is being complained about • individuals challenging gov's authority or the propriety of gov action • one level of government against another level of government • role of courts to hear the case - apply the rules to the case • our courts are passive - wait at the courthouse by the participants • individuals involved in law suit have a lot of power • lawyers get to define the issues • they get to decide what evidence is presented in the court and what evidence shouldn't • judges don't know too much about the case - just hear what lawyers choose to present • after damages occur • passive courts contrastes w/ european ACTIVE courts - judges lead investigation and do detective work, controlling the questioning • fundamentals of our courts: anyone can enter at any time (open and public) • 2 - courts must be universal (our courts must be accessible to everyone) • 3 - independent - separate from
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