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ENV 319 Chapter Notes -Inquisitorial System, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Precedent

Course Code
ENV 319
David Boyd

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ENV 319 Book Notes
An Introduction to Environmental Law and Policy in Canada
By: P. Muldoon, A. Lucas, R. Gibson, and P. Pickfield
Chapter 4: Courts, Tribunals, and Dispute Settlement
Civil Law and Common Law Jurisdictions (p. 33)
- Canadian legal system is largely based on common law, except Quebec, where the civil
law also applies
-Common Law – body of laws or general principles that are declared or applied by the
oEmerged from customary arrangements, evolved over years of court decisions
oStand as basic tenets of our legal regime, guiding behavior among citizens and
-Stare decisis – decision sets a precedent about similar cases in the future
oA higher court can overrule a lower court and create a new precedent
- Civil Law Jurisdictions
oMost of Europe, Quebec, and Louisiana
oDerived from civil code that courts interpret and apply on a case-by-case basis
oDoes not rely on precedents
Civil Law and Criminal Law Systems (p. 35)
-Civil law systems – deals with disputes between individuals
-Criminal law systems – deals with the laws designed to protect the interests of society in
oCan prosecute
oViolation of the law is not only a wrong against the victim of the crime, but a
wrong against society in general
-Standard of proof needed
oCriminal law suit – guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
oCivil law suit – balance of probabilities
Courts and Tribunals
How Courts Work (p. 37)
-Primary functions – to apply and enforce the law, to provide a check on the use of
government power, and to adjudicate on matters of rights and liabilities
- Courts are adversarial by nature
- Underlying theory: the truth will emerge from the conflict of opposing positions
-In a civil matter – the result of a court case is a judgment in favor of the plaintiff or a
-In a criminal matter – the accused is either acquitted or found guilty of committing an
How Tribunals Work (p. 37-38)
- Tribunal – an administrative board, commission, or panel
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