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Lecture 2

SSCI 1010U Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Lexisnexis, Public Law, Parliamentary Sovereignty

Course Code
SSCI 1010U
Bruce Curran

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Canadian Legal Systems Lecture 2 01.21.16
Systems, Sources, Types of Law
Systems of Law in Canada
Legal System
Consists of legal rules, institutions, and procedures
oOperate in a distinctive way
2 different legal systems in Canada
oQuebec: Civil law (governing private law matters)
oEverywhere else: Common law
Common Law
Previously decided cases provide basis for legal rules
oCalled case law
Based on precedent
Key Concepts
oPreviously decided cases provide basis for legal rules
Called “Case Law”
Leading role of precedent among sources of law – ‘judge-made’ law
More inductive reasoning (from particular to general)
oYou look at specific situations and derive a general rule and use that general
rule in the future
Do not need to know
map for exams.

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Canadian Legal Systems Lecture 2 01.21.16
Deductive reasoning is starting with general principles and try to apply them to a
specific situation
Stare decisis and hierarchy of courts
Binding and persuasive decisions
Case at bar – case at hand
Ratio decidendi – reason for the decision
Importance of precedent
Stare decisis means that a judge is compelled to follow precedent
oStare decisis – Latin word meaning that has which been decided
Hierarchy of courts
oCourts of first instance (trial courts)
oAppellate courts
Review decisions of lower courts
oStare decisis depends on hierarchy
oDecisions by courts at same level are “persuasive”
Courts with Jurisdiction in Ontario
Precedent: Decisions of Higher Courts Bind Lower Courts
Supreme Court of Canada
Court of Appeal (ON)
Divisional Court (Ontario)
Superior Court of Justice
Superior Trial Court (Ontario)
Superior Court of Justice
Inferior Trial Courts
Avoiding Precedent
Obiter Dicta: something that
Per incuriam
Concurring opinions
Case should be overruled
Court of Chancery developed in response to unfair decisions in common law
Law of equity developed body of legal rules
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