• Canada’s Legal History: Social, Political, Economic Context
• Sources of Canadian Law
• Legislation (written) and case law (unwritten) = sources of principal.
• Two inﬂuences of subsidiary: Custom and books of authority (unwritten)
• Statue Law
• source of legal form, long-standing tradition of British parliamentary
supremacy. Represents will of people after democratic debate & resolution.
• House of Commons and legislative assemblies of provinces and territories.
Introduce bill into either House of Commons or Legislative Assembly, and
gives its “ﬁrst reading”, passed to second reading without debate.
• If second reading, minister who proposed sets out urpose, then a
debate follows. After debate, bill is sent to committee of House or
Assembly composed of both government and Opposition members.
• More debate, public hearings. Third reading, if enough support bill is
passed. Must be repeated in Senate for federal. For provincial,
passed to lieutenant governor of that province for approval.
• established by decisions in speciﬁc court cases. Following courts will turn to
these decisions (judicial precedents) when making judgments about similar
issues. Supreme Court decision will affect all courts.
• Open system of interpretation, legislative democracy. However, two
problems with judicial precedents as source of law
• 1. Trying to mesh current situations with pre-existing case law, courts
and counsel may make illogical distinctions. Must be set agaisnt
• 2. Logic of system of binding precedent is court os last resort
(supreme Court) binds itself and all other courts. However,
Sometimes Supreme Court changes i’s past decisions based on new
evidence or new conceptions.
• Reporting Case Law
• Editors of reports make decisions about which cases to report. Most made in
superior courts (able to bind other courts). Headnote is a summary of facts of