Class Notes (807,075)
Canada (492,584)
POLB50Y3 (205)

The judiciary.docx

3 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Jennifer Levine

The judiciary  This chapter examines the judiciary as an institution of the government, discussing the function of adjudication, categories of laws, the structure of the courts, the supreme court of Canada, and the appointment, retirement, removal and independence of judges The function of adjudication  Adjudication can be defined as interpreting the law in cases of dispute, of settling disputes by applying the law to them, or of making a judgement based on the law  The function of the judiciary is to render formal, impartial, authoritative judgements in the case of legal disputes between two parties that cannot be settled otherwise  It is a process that generally relies on the adversarial system, with lawyers representing each side  The judge obviously acts like a referee and decides which of the disputants is legally right  Obviously we have French civil law and English common law in Canada  The principle that precedents are binding on successive decisions is called stare decisis  Judges in this sense also shape and develop the law of the future because of their decisions in settling disputes  Judicial discretion: the leeway inevitably bestowed on the courts when they interpret laws, even when they do not, or have no power to, overturn them  Judicial review: this is the power of the courts to declare laws invalid, refuting the principle of the supremacy of parliament Access to and cost of justice  To give those without the financial resources a fairer chance to achieve justice, legal aid programs financed jointly by the federal and provincial governments have been established Categories of laws  Laws are commonly divided into civil and criminal laws  A civil law regulates relationships between two private parties, such as individuals or corporations, and if a private agreement cannot be reached, the one aprty can take the other to court  Most aspects of civil law in Canada are within provincial jurisdiction, largely because of the provincial power over property and civil rights  Civil cases are decided on the basis of the “balance of probabilities” of the merits on each side  Criminal law on the other hand, is a primarily federal responsibility; it is more or less uniform in the whole country, and has been consolidated in the criminal code  Guilt has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and fines or prison sentences are usually the punishment Structure of the courts Provincial courts  Provincial courts have a monopoly on summary (less serious) offences  More serious crimes, called indictable offences, can be subdivided into three categories o Things like murder is reserved for the superior courts o Things like theft are assigned to provincial courts o And those in an intermediate category can be tried in either section 96 or provincial courts The superior trial court  In this court the accused often has the option of trial by judge alone or trial by judge and jury  The use of juries is starting o decline, though it is a sacred legal principle  This is because judges and prosecutors are urged to solve cases quickly through plea bargains rather than through a trial by jury. Also there is a growing concern that jur
More Less

Related notes for POLB50Y3

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.