Law’s Organization and Law Making
Week 2 Lecture 2
How does policy become law?
Perspectives on law making
Organization of the courts
How does policy become ?
3 Distinct stages:
The Cabinet Stage:
▯Policy may originate in:
• Throne Speech, The Budget
• International or federal/provincial agreements
• Ministerial proposals and other sources
▯Sponsoring Department prepares a memorandum to cabinet
▯Memorandum seeks policy approval and authorization for the department of justice to begin drafting
▯Before completing the memorandum, the sponsoring department hosts an interdepartmental consultation
▯Memorandum is revised accordingly
▯Submitted to appropriate cabinet policy committee, which reviews the memorandum and prepares a report
▯For the policy to proceed, Cabinet as a whole must ratify the report. (Ratify= Accept the report)
▯Once Cabinet approves the Memorandum, the legislative drafters of the department of justice prepare a bill in
both official languages (English and French)
▯The draft bill is reviewed and approved by the sponsoring minister,
▯Government house leader seeks authority from cabinet to approve the bill for introduction in parliament
▯Bills usually introduced in house of commons, rather than senate
▯Appears on the notice paper and the order paper, where it will wait for introduction by appropriate minister
▯No notice is required for bill in senate .
I.E: example of how a paper is introduced: YOUTUBE VIDEO: Introduction of BC261
The Parliamentary Stage:
Introduced and First Reading:
• Introduced and assigned a number
Second Reading: Debated
• Whether it is significant enough to warrant change
• Committee Consideration
• Report Stage
▯The bill, as passed by the committee, is considered by the House. Further amendments can be
• I.E: YOU TUBE VIDEO: Canadian House of Commons Bill C391 Vote
Passage and Royal Assent: rd
• If the bill originated in the house, and is passed at 3 reading, it is sent to senate
• I the coming into force stage:
• A bill comes an act when it receives royal assent, but legislation is not automatically in effect.
• Laws come into force in several ways:
▯When they receive royal assent
▯On a day, or days specified in the Act
▯On a day or days set by the governor in Council
Bills before Parliament (2011)
• See House of commons website and Department of Justice
Perspectives on Lawmaking
• Rationalistic: (Clear right and Clear Wrong)
▯ Law is absolutely true and just because a rational creature/human would recognize it as just
▯Law is a rational means for protecting members of society from social harm (Especially Criminal Law)
▯Simplistic Theory, but of course whenever things are very simple, they are reductive from a more
▯This perspective may be an ideal perspective on how we want the law to be rational and simple, but
this is not realistic.
• But who gets to define what is “harmful”?
▯Who gets to define what is harmful? Taboo? And Hurtful?
• Is it a rational approach or highly “invested” approach?
▯is it invested in upholding a certain type of life style?
• Functionalist: (this is how it functions, so we map out how it functions)
▯ Laws are a “reinstitutionalized custom”
▯ Law as a restatement of customs enforced by legal institutions
▯A Crystallization of custom, of the existing normative order
▯Laws are passed because they represent the voice of the people (While the law is hopefully a reflection
of what all citizens want, but it necessary is not so because it is also a reflection of the power structures
that participate in law making)
A consensus perspective
Customs= norms or rules about the ways in which people must behave if social institutions are to
perform their functions and society is to endure.
• Conflict Perspective
▯ The origin of law is traced to the emergence of an elite class
▯Laws, as a social control mechanism, perpetuate the advantageous positions of the elites
▯Maintains unequal social and economic divisions
See Chambliss article on vagrancy laws in England.
▯The law maintains unequal socioeconomic conditions.
• “Moral Entrepreneur” Theory (See’s law as a means of instilling the ideology)
▯ Law as a means to create or maintain a particular “moral” constitution of a society
Is law moral, or ideological?
▯Law as a means of stamping ideology with “legitimacy” and “respectability”
AntiMiscegenation laws in US and in Canada, See “White Woman’s Labour Law,” and the Indian Act. *AntiMiscegenation: a law against mixed race marriage and having mixed race children – The
argument for these types of laws was to maintain racial purity and language purity.
To Maintain “Racial Purity” and to Secure economic rights and interests with the ruling group
▯Ideology: Core belief systems that become the