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JN204 Lecture Notes - Small Claims Court, Patent Infringement, Wrongful Dismissal

Course Code
Bruce Gillespie

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Journalism Law and Ethics
September 13th, 2012
Week 1, Thursday.
Civil law and sources of Canadian law.
Civil law is private transactions.
Criminal: a crime against one of us is a crime against all of us, so gov't prosecutes.
Civil law is between two parties, breach of contract, or over money.
Civil: between individuals, corporations or governments.
In civil, the gov't is not automatically involved.
The person bringing the suit is the plaintiff, opposing is known as the defendant. Both are represented
by their own lawyers, no crown involved.
A lot of civil suits involve money, or compensation.
Under $5000 is small claims court.
Up to $25 000 is civil.
The standard of proof.
Judge or jury need only to be satisfied on a balance of probabilities that the injury or loss occurred and
that the defendant is responsible.
The court must be convinced that the claim is “probably true”- a better than 50/50 chance or a
preponderance of evidence.
If an action is successful. The outcome is an award of damages --> money that the defendant pays to
compensate for:
Lost income, pain and suffering from injuries, failure to honour an agreement.
A judge may grant an injunction. Prevents the defendant from doing something to harm plaintiff's
interest. Examples: stopping media from running a defamatory story. Injunction is before. Not after a
Civil courts
tasked with redress (compensation)
deals with losses that an individual or corporation suffers at the hands of another party through:
accident, business transactions, malicious acts that falls short of criminal activity.
Civil defendants are sued, not charged.
People don't get sentenced in civil court. Judge makes a finding of negligence, breach of contract, or
liable for damages.
Court of civil law:
Disputes over sale of location of property
complaints about patent infringement
claims of wrongful dismissal
divorces and family law
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