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Lecture

ADMS 2610 Lecture Notes - Provincial And Territorial Courts In Canada, Summary Offence, Actus Reus


Department
Administrative Studies
Course Code
ADMS 2610
Professor
Robert Levine

Page:
of 7
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)