Soc209 - lc - Feb 13 2012
Law and the Structure of the Canadian Courts
Structure of the Canadian court - first slide - the way the court system is organized.
(The supreme court of Canada.)
Supreme Court of Canada
- the highest court in Canada
- nine judges chosen to represent the countrys regions
- based in Ottawa.
-it has 8 justices and a cheif justice that make up 9
- and 3 judges of the court must be coming from Quebec.
- has the power to review lower- court rulings on any legal issues - not necesarily
concenred with facts about the case - they ususally rule in legal cases - for eg. judges
insturction to the jury was wrong - perhaps hte law itself should be invalid etc.
- not fact: that hte judge thought i was wearing a red hat, but it was blue.
- they see about 100 cases a year - they try to limit the cases though.
- issues of national importance - some prostituion laws can make their way up there.
- Why do we have an odd number? Becuase we dont want a tie.
- They are all white middle class justices - we did have first aboriginal justice in 2001
but she is no longer in the highest court - therobs that they were is formality - the
canadian essence - royality looking robes they are wearing - this is how we view the
law as well and their appearance kind of reaffirms that.
- each provinces/territory has two of these thign: one that hears trials and one that
- each prvince nad territory has two levels of superioer court, one to heart trisla dn the
other to hear appeals.
- hand a bunch of things:
- Superioer courts handle:
- criminal offences, dirvoces, not just about criminal law, everything that we are
concenred about. civil cases tha tinvovle large sums of money, charter challenges
with superior courts nad review the deicisiosn of adminstatriatve tribunals and some
- they have diferent names: The supreme court, the superioer courts - doesnt have one
sort of consistent name -may vary in provinces and territories.
Trial LEvel: reveiwed by the appeal level: We have the Court of Appeal or the
Appeal Division in this.
- the highest court within the province or territory.
- judges of the superioer courts are appointed and paid by the federal government,
which pays for their salary - even though they are provincial court they are picked up
by the federal govt.
- provinces nad territores provide courhouses and support staff- there is some
responsilbity of the govt there. - the highest level they are able to review are the decisions below them.
Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal
- - handle issues that arise of federal laws - immigrantion status. intellectual property,
aboriginal law, borad federal things that they deal with - 30 full time justices.
Tax court of canada- disputes between tax pairs betwen the govt.
- court martial appeal - pertianing to military discipline - left side of the graph.
- all these different level sof court systems - also various tribunals made federally
Provincial and Territorial Courts
- appointed by province-territroy
- thse courts have the pwoer to deal with every criminal offence excecpt the most
- these are appointed by the porvince - the proinvce appoints these jduges
so they dont deal with things like murder or priacy
- conduct pre trail hearings in crininal cases destined for trial in superioer court. -
-they also handle violations of provincial laws.
- provines nad teritories have etablished Small Claims courts to resolve cicla actions
invvoling small amounts of money.
- the provincial court level may also include certain specialized courts, such as youth
and family courts.
- in terms of thining of ontario courts.
Onatrios Court System
1. Court of Appeal for Ontario
- it hears appeals from the judgements and orders of the lower courts in thep rovince -
question of law or something being wrong it will end up being here.
- 98% of cases, the court of appeal is the last avenue of appeal for litigants in the
- wide range of issues: commericla issues, fmaly law issues, commercial issue s- not
al just about charter -ther eis a vast amount of questions
- appointed by the federal minster of Justice
- composed of 24 judges. - the ontario court of appeal - generally sees 1, 500 cases a
- the sheer number of cases that are possible to go to court - is less then those going
- the court of appeal sit withs either 1 or three judges depending on the appeal.
- if it a cases decided by 2 - 1 it is going to make its way to supreme court of canada -
but supreme court of canada hears it as a another matter- must be praticed for 10
years to be apointed.
- pracitced law for minimum of 10 years prior to being appointed.
2. Superior Court of Justice - General Division
- holds genral jurisdiction over all civial adn crminal matters - not just criminal** - the Supreme Court of Justice hears:
- criminal prosecution of indictable offences, some criminal prosecutions invvoling
young persons, they also deal with appeals from the Ontario court of justice , so there
are two avenues for appeal, Appeals from theOntario court of justice or the Superior
Court of Justice, - Bail reviews, they do deal with civil suits oer $10, 000, family law
disputes invvoling divorce or property, also custody and child support issues as well,
there are about 49 permannet locations,
3 branhes of the Superior Court:
1. the divisional court:
delas with judgements and boarders, nto just appeal of decisions - there are appeals of
rules nad motions - have a court llook at rules
- there are some judgemetns and orders of judges in the general division
- it reivews or hears applea from deicsions of adminstrative tribunals
- ALL appeals from Small Claims Court judgemetns ( < 25, 000$ )
2. The Small Claims Court:
- hears civial actions for claims up to $10, 000
3. Family Court:
- a single court for all family matters- any thing pertaining to family - diorce,
dividsion of porety, adoption, child issues, etc, - it started in hamilton in 1977 - as a
- there are some 17 family courts in ontario - so if people dont have a family court -
its heard by the Superior court of the ontario court of justice*
3. Onatario Court of Justice - the provincal division
- over 200 locations across the province
- not just jduges but justices of the peace as well.
- ALLL criminal cases are commenced in theOntario Court of justice - all of the
cirminal cases start here bitches
- and over 95 % of the case stay here and are completed here in this court.
- the ontario court of justice hears most cirminal prosexuators invvoling young person
s- deals most with youth
- if there is no family court - it then hears certain family law disputes.
- it also deals with prosecutions of provincial offences.
Specialized Courts (textbook does that)
/- Nunavut court of justice -e stablished in 1999 - combines the power of the superior
TRAIL court and the territorial court !
- the same jduge can hear all tehc aes that arise in that territory.
- becuase it is isolate d- its communites are small - the jduge are going on tour to hear
- much like how when justice is first started - in england - they were in tour going to
differnet communities -smnall communites in toronto and canada -a judge would
travelt o pa particular town. - this is kind of a big deal - to the turn of the century of
ontari - where a judge shows up to handle a case - they go on tour this is the nunavut
exmaple. the court also goes to most communties -the flies most communties at intervals that
range from 6 weeks to two years - so it is a regular thing going to these communties -
they are sentencing circules.
-Sentencing Circles - whether its communtiy, leaders, victims - after finding an
emission of guilt - the police social serivces etc, broad network - part of the
sentencing circle -duscusing the offence the factors that contributed to the offence -
and reason if they can help the offender integrete into the community. it is a formal
setting -t hey dont always suggest restorative jsutice systems - this is an alternative. -
they could recommend custody
Drug Treatment Courts
Domestic Assult Courts
- not just issues on issues - there is a sheer number of cases- the same jduges hearing
the same types of a cases.
- the jduges is an expert on munitions of law.
Different Areas of Law:
(chart on the slides)
Procedural law :literally refers to the procedures that are going to be followed -
formal step neede dto happen to make legal action. - divided into criminal procedure
and civial procude
Law of Evidence - what maybe admitted in court, what proof is required the standard
of proff in courts is beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Substantive law- private nad public law two ategories.
- public law - constitutional law - issues of the const. adminstaratve law, relation
between the state and the individual, dealing with rules that exist with existing
tribunals, different tribunals that make up the lgela system beoynd the simple chart
that he showed us. - try to control these tribunals. , tax laws - issues with tax,
Criminal Law - 1892 - Canadian crimnal code instituted
-8 categories of general offences:
1. offences of violence against the person, eg muder man sluaghter non fatal assaults,
at one time abortion was illegal.
2. sex offences, eg rape, unlawful sexual intercourse. also homosexual sex at one
3. offences of dishonesty against prpoerty - theft, fraud,
4. offences that cause damnge to prpoerty - eg, Arsen- eg dmaging proeprty burnign
5. offences against the state - eg, treason cases, - still on the books but these were
prosecuted a number of ye