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Law Midterm Lecture and Textbook.docx

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Law 2101
Mysty Sybil Clapton

LAW 2101 LECTURELegal System Lawpublicly prescribed rules that we must follow failing which we may suffer some adverse consequenceA reflection of common values of society ex Assault The process by which dispute are resolvedo Fair and adequate opportunity to state your case by a Judge Sources of Lawo Statutes passed by governmentBroad and broadly applicable rules passed by legislatureHighly diverseCan be enacted in anticipation of future events ex Rules created in anticipation of an environmental problem o Regulations subordinate legislation Detailed rules refining applying or further describing broad statutory statements Passed by Governorincouncil Flexible change rules as certain circumstances arise Not subject to public debateFor example refer to lecture one onlineo CommonCase law Rules laid down by the courts Based on decisions resolving particular disputes Each decision determines the law as it applies to that dispute and in theory helps determine the law applicable to other similar matters Based on principle of stare decisis the idea that like cases should be decided alikeCourt decisions guide the determination of future similar matters by courts Most important source of law o Constitution Supreme law of the country to which all other laws must conform Very broad statements of general principle that are even concrete application by the courts Example someone standing on the side of the street yelling antiSemitic things and saying it is freedom of expressiona court will decide whether or not this is right or notLawmakerso Federal government Can make laws that apply across the country Authorized to make laws respecting matters assigned to it by the Constitution Act 1867Also technically responsible for government of the territorieso Provincial Government Laws only apply within the province Authorized to make laws respecting matters assignment to it by the Constitution Act 1867 o Municipal Laws only apply within the municipality Authorized to make laws only respecting matters assigned to it by provincial governmento Aboriginal Governments Limited power to make laws within their given areaso Judges Not electedappointed by provincial or federal government Make law in the course of resolving specific disputes Do not usually just make up law Guided by precedent principle statute and constitution Independent and as impartial as possible Free of political influence If a Judge makes a decision to change or create a law it has to be reviewed by others as well Divisions of Lawo Public vs Private Public law relating to the relationship between the individual and society and the powers of various levels of government Ex Constitutional law criminal law Private law relating to the relationship between private individuals corporations and other entities Ex Property torts negligence nuisance contractso Civil vs criminal Private lawsuit between individuals etc vs prosecution by the government to enforce a public lawo Civil law vs common law Civil law can also refer to private law system operating in Quebec based on Civil Code Common Law whole body of decisions rendered by courts in particular matters private and public Applies to private law matters outside of Quebec Applies to public law matters everywhere across the countryo Substantive vs procedural law Generally laws dictating what rights people have vs laws dictating how rights can be enforcedo Common law vs equity No longer any official division but equitable doctrines continue to have importance ex TrustsCourt Systemo Hierarchical system in which the decisions of higher courts are binding or lower courts Both in the matter at hand and for future cases This is another aspect of stare decisis the principles that courts are required to follow the decisions of higher courts in the same jurisdictiono Court cases almost always start in the lower trial courts and if appealed move up to the higher courtso Different lower courts are assignment original jurisdiction over different matterso Different courts fulfill different functions Fact finding vs review Adversarial systemo Not a scientific inquiryo Decision to be based on evidence adduced by parties who are presumed to be best able to advance their caseo Judge is to be neutral arbitero Distinguished from inquisitorial system Case nameso In civil cases the plaintiff name comes first and defendants name secondo Criminal casesthe R means Crown and the second name is the accused The Queen and Jones o Appealthe appellant the person who lost and is appealing name is first and the second name is the respondent Interpreting the lawo The law through various mechanisms sets down various ruleso But those rules or their application to a future matter are not always clear Ex What exactly does a term in a statute meanEx What relevance does a prior court decision have to a future dispute o The rules must be interpretedo There are rules as to how those rules should be interpreted Statutory interpretationo Statutes are often couches in general languageo Courts must decide if facts of particular case fit within general languageo This involves Determining the meaning of statutory terms Determining the applicability of statutory termso No set formula for determining legislative meaning
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