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ADMS 2610 (409)


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York University
Administrative Studies
ADMS 2610
Robert Levine

ADMS2610 Session 1 Chapter 2 (pg. 29-40, 43-46) Structure of the Judicial System Judicial System - In Canada, there are many different courts with different jurisdiction - Jurisdiction means the right or authority to hear and decide a dispute - The court must have authority to deal with the case brought before it and over the parties or the property or the matter - Authority is divided in different ways: o (1) Monetary – court has been authorized to hear cases concerning money up to a certain amount o (2) Geographic – court has cases concerning land within the particular province or area where the land is situated o (3) Subject Matter (jurisdiction over the parties to a dispute) – court must have the authority or power to compel the parties’ attendance or to impose its decision on them - Courts of Law o Courts of Original Jurisdiction (Trial Courts)  A dispute or case is heard for the first time by a judge, where all the facts are presented so the judge can render a decision  Criminal and Civil cases are first heard o Courts of Appeal  Hear appeals from the decisions of courts of original jurisdiction  Superior or “higher” courts in that their decisions may overrule or vary the decisions of the “lower” or trial courts  Principal foundation is to review the decisions of trial courts if one of the parties to the action in the lower court believes that the trial judge made an erroneous decision  Do not normally hear evidence but hear arguments by counsel for the parties  Sometimes appeal is limited to the amount of damages awarded  In criminal cases, severity of the penalty imposed  Appeal court may find the judge at trial failed to consider important evidence when reaching their decision and send the case back to the lower court for a new trial  Looks for errors of law Types of Courts - Federal Courts o Federal Court Trial Division hears disputes between provincial governments and the federal government or actions against the federal government o Deals with federal matters under federal government jurisdiction  Includes admiralty, patents, tax, trademark, immigration, copyright o A trial decision of the Federal Court may be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal and the appeal with leave to the Supreme Court of Canada - Provincial Courts o Each province has authority to establish their own system and assign each court a specific jurisdiction o There are different variation in names and powers do exist but overall they are similar in function - Criminal Courts o (1) Magistrate’s or Provincial Court  Court of original jurisdiction  Initially deals with all criminal matters  Holds preliminary hearings of more serious crimes to determine if sufficient evidence exits to send it to a higher court  All provinces have one except for Quebec which is known as the Court of Sessions of the Peace o (2) Provincial Supreme Court  Hears more serious criminal matters  Ontario calls this court the Superior Court of Justice  Justices of the court periodically travel throughout the province to hear these cases at sessions of the court called Assizes (sittings of the court held in different places throughout the province)  White gloves may be presented to the judge at the beginning of the session if no criminal cases are scheduled to be heard o (3) Youth Courts  Hears cases of youth who commit crimes  12 years or older to under 18 years old  Cases in this court, names of young persons and the offences committed cannot be published by the press or other media  Presided by judges who have the powers of a justice or magistrate of a summary conviction court o (4) Family Courts  Have jurisdiction to deal with domestic problems and the enforcement of federal and provincial legislation that relates to family problems  Deal with non support of family members or family relationships that have deteriorated where the actions of one family member have become a serious threat to others  Presided over by a magistrate or provincial court judge  May also fall under jurisdiction of the Superior or Supreme Court of the province o (5) Criminal Courts of Appeal  Hear appeals from lower courts o (6) Civil Courts  Deals with disputes between private persons o (7) Small Claims Court  Hear disputes up to a certain amount of money  Amount varies by each province o (8) Provincial Supreme Court  Hears civil disputes over and above small claims matters or those matters specifically set in the superior court o (9) Surrogate or Probate Court  Deals with administration of wills and estates Courts of Appeal - Civil Courts of Appeal o Provincial Court of Appeal  Hears appeals in each province from lower courts - Supreme Court of Canada o Highest court in Canada o Hears all appeals from all courts including federal court o Right to appeal is restricted, leave (permission) by the court must be granted Criminal Court Procedure - Is concerned with the enforcement of the criminal law - Usually the same court that deals with civil law matters o Ontario: Provincial Court (Criminal Division) o Other: Magistrate’s Court - Minor or lesser offences dealt with by way of summary conviction rules or procedure - In serious cases, by way of indictment (accusation the person has committed the crime) - In either cases, it is first heard in the Provincial Court or Magistrate’s Court o For minor cases, courts have absolute or elective jurisdiction to dispose of the case o For serious cases, court will conduct preliminary hearing to determine whether the crown has sufficient evidence to warrant a full hearing of the case by a superior court - Procedure is usually informal o (1) Offence is read by the crown o (2) Accused makes a plea (guilty or not guilty) o (3) If guilty plea, then the court will hear evidence from the Crown to confirm the act and circumstances surrounding it (conviction will be lodged against the accused and a penalty imposed) o (4) If not guilty plea, then the Crown is obliged to present evidence to show the criminal act was committed (actus reus) and that the accused had intended to commit (mens rea) the crime  Witnesses would be called to identify and establish the evidence  Counsel for the accuse has the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses o (5) Jud
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