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LWSO 203 (56)

Canadian Court Structure.docx

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Law and Society
LWSO 203
Marywyatt Sindlinger

Canadian Court Structure 1) Role of the Courts Key function: decide the legal cases that come before the court by the claimants according to legal principles Passive: only decide cases brought to them -the court waits for the claimants to bring the case to them -they do not seek out cases Legal resolution to a legal dispute -court only addresses the legal aspect of disputes Express community values through decisions -through their decisions, show what values are important in their community -express community values by showing what is acceptable and what isn’t -legal realists would believe it is a reflection of the physicians values 2) Trials 1 judge Parties call witnesses and present evidence -both sides present openings statements -present evidence (eg. Witness testimony) > the opposition can cross examine the witness > ask leading questions to discount the witnesses testimony Civil cases: A) plaintiff: the accuser B) defendant: the accuse C) liable or not liable: whether or not the defendant has wronged the plaintiff and if they must repay the damages Criminal cases: a) Crown/Prosecutor (the accusers, represent the state), b) Accused: the defendent c) guilty or not guilty: the outcome -not guilty does not = innocent -may be unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt 3) Appeals Parties are trying to establish that the trial judge made a reversible error of law -the other judge applied the law wrong, misjudged, or law and fact are incorrec Panel of 3 judges at Court of Appeal or 7-9 judges at SCC No evidence is called or witnesses in court -not a trial -examine a transcript of the original trial -may examine physical evidence Possible result: A) uphold trial decision B) vary trial decision: change the liability amount, change prison time, change the results C) overturn trial decision: decide the case was incorrectly judged, the accused/defendant not guilty D) Send back for a new trial: they trial was incorrectly conducted or insufficiently, a new trial ordered 4) Preliminary matters Issues that need to be determined prior to trial -E.g. how many witnesses can be called, a bail hearing Also: Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR): informal setting, explain dispute to a judge and they offer an opinion on the result if it were taken to court 5) Inferior vs. Superior Courts Inferior courts: powers derived from statute -legislation sets out what types of cases can be heard e.g. small claims court Superior courts: inherent powers derived from King’s authority as fountain of all justice -inherent power: can resolve any type of dispute that comes before them *Except: if a certain area of law has been delegated to a specific court e.g. If an aboriginal is suing the Canadian Govt, the case must be heard by the Superior court of Canada 6) Federally Created vs. Provincially Cr
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