How criminal law is different from other types of law in Canada.
Why do we have criminal law?
1. Regulating morality. It denounces what we have collectively called immoral
conduct. It is what we have called the social contract or societal values. It is
a moving target as what was thought immoral a long time ago may not be
thought immoral today. Whether you agree where the boundaries are drawn
or not is a different question.
2. Define the limits of acceptable behaviour. Not just what is moral and
immoral but what people are allowed to do. This is also the social contract.
Recognition of regulation so we can maximize our liberty and freedom.
Boundary of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
3. Problem with regulating morality is that there will never be agreement on
4. Both legally and ethically it justifies imprisonment.
5. Protect people from crime.
6. Each law is a social construct. It is made by the parliament who wants to call
that a crime.
7. Is there a better way to this? Why do we use this system? Who does this
If we did not have crime we would not have conduct.
Religions are a form of peer pressure. If you don’t conform to our views then they
kick you out.
How many aspects of your life are regulated? You have to take this course to
continue in criminology.By creating an aura of illness around certain things so that people go get help.
This is the therapeutic model.
When something becomes a crime it is an active choice.
Criminal system keeps changing over time because of changing parliaments.
What should be crime?
GOVT OF CANADA IS THE ONLY BODY THAT CAN CREATE CRIMINAL
LAW. POLICE ARE INVESTIFATORS OF CRIME.
In Canada the police are independent from the prosecutors. Police determine the
evidence they want to gather and who they want to interview and whether they
want to charge someone. Therefore the police have a lot of say in a crime. They
decide whether things get prosecuted or not. Have a lot of powers on what the
charges look like and what they are. Once police have done their research they
hand it all over they will give it to the prosecutor (crown attorney).
Defence counsel. In Canada the defendant can pick their own lawyer as long as
they will work for that rate.
No way to write crim law without any ambiguity.
Basic definition of a crime: a prohibited act “thou shalt not do act” + potential for
penal sanction (potential to go to jail).
The crimes given below on slide 7 are all prohibited acts but not penal sanctions.
Not every offence is a crime.
Only the federal govt in Canada can enact criminal law. That is because of the
powers from s. 91 and s. 92. These set out the powers for federal and provincial
governments. Section 92(15) gives the provincial govt the authority over the
imposition of punishments, creating an overlap. Provincial govt overlooks the
criminal law system while federal govt has authority to impose punishments. Criminal code of Canada was first enacted in 1892.
Govt are constantly changing the criminal code.
New crimes. Max and min sentences. After 9/11 whole new set of criminal
Income tax act, customs act all create crim