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Lecture 2

SOC 3730 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Quebec French, Summary Offence, Shoplifting


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 3730
Professor
Michelle Dumas
Lecture
2

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WEEK 2 READINGS GREEN CH. 1 & MCCORMICK CH. 2 SOC3730
CHAPTER 1 [GREENE]: CANADA’S COURTS IN CONTEXT
- Quebec = French civil law But common law in regards to administrative,
constitutional and criminal law
- Central and circuit courts created by the monarch became known as
‘superior’ courts, while local courts were referred to as ‘inferior’ courts
- Norman times superior court judges often fell to bribery most fired king
began to appoint men from the newly developing legal profession
- Middle of the 14th century king had to select superior court judges from the
ranks of experienced lawyers
THE CANADIAN COURT SYSTEM…
- two basic kinds of courts trial and appellate
- trial courts are the courts where judges settle the criminal, civil,
constitutional, or administrative law disputes
- trial courts constitute the basic workhorse of the court system, and they
often specialize in settling either criminal law or private law matters
- federal court the court that hears federal administrative law cases also has
an appeal division
- appeals from trial courts in Yukon are heard by the BC Court of Appeal, and
from the trial courts of Nunavut and NWT = Alberta Court of Appeal
- trial judges always sit alone
- provincial and federal appellate courts usually sit in panels of three but
occasionally in panels of five
- SCC 9 judges often sits in panels of 7 although sometimes in panels of five
or nine
- 1867 Constitution allocated specific responsibilities for maintaining the
primarily unitary court system to each order of government
- federal government appointment of superior court judges and provincial
appellate judges while provincial government has inferior judges
- constitution gave the federal government the responsibility for the criminal
law, while the provinces retained control over most private law matters
- provinces responsible for prosecuting criminal offences in all courts
- federal gov’t assumed responsibility for the prosecution of federal offences in
the late 1960s
- indictable = murder, assault, armed robbery while summary conviction =
shoplifting, minor offences
- hybrid = between indictable and summary crown prosecuting the offence
may opt to proceed by the way of indictment, meaning that the possible
penalty is potentially more severe
- less than 2% of cases involving indictable offences end in trials
- less than 6% of civil trials involve juries
- more than 95% of cases filed do not go to trial, but are settled out of court
JUDICIAL IMPARTIALITY, APPOINTMENT, AND EDUCATION
- judicial education in Canada consists of completing a law degree and having
at least 10 years of experience in legal practice or as a law school professor
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