Chapter 6 - The need for laws
The need for laws
• Laws are an essential part of a civilized nation
• the canadian system of gov't have three branches of gov't. Each has a distinct role in the legal system, though sometimes the lines
• The primary function of the legislative branch is to make laws.
• Municipal councils also make laws, but their legislative power is limited to the scope delegated to them by their provincial
• The executive branch (gov't departments, administrative boards, police departments) administers the laws, putting them into
• The judicial branch (courts) applies the law and interprets it when there is a dispute.
• Criminal law defines crimes, establishes punishments, and regulates the investigation and prosecution of people accused of
• Civil law involves legal proceedings that don't involve criminal acts.
• The law governs activities and operations of businesses
• Laws for hiring and firing practices, sexual harassment and more.
• Business law refers to rules, statutes, codes, and regulations that are established to provide a legal framework within which
business may be conducted and that are enforceable by court action.
Statutory and common law
• Two major kinds of law ^
• Statutory law includes the laws that are made by the parliament of cda and the provincial legislatures, international treaties, and
regulations and bylaws - written laws established.
• Common law - the body of law that comes from decisions handed down by judges. Common law is often referred to as unwritten
law because it doesn't appear in any legislative enactment, treaty or other such documents. These decisions are called
precedents: decisions judges have made in earlier cases that guide the handling of new cases.
Laws made under delegated authority: administrative agencies
• Administrative agencies are federal or provincial institutions and other gov't organizations created by parliament or provincial
legislatures with delegated power to pass rules and regulations within their mandated area of authority.
• Legislative bodies can create administrative agencies and dissolve them.
• An agency is allowed to pass rules and regulation within its area of authority, conduct investigations in cases of suspected rule
violations, and hold hearings to determine whether the rules and regulations have been violated.
• Administrative agencies include:
o At the federal level: the CRTC (canadian radio-TV and telecommunications commission) regulates the use of airwaves.
OSFI regulates the operation of banks and other financial institutions o Provincial: public utility commissions and boards regulate prices for services like electricity. Licensing boards set the
qualifications required for practising trades and professions and labour relations boards oversee the certification of unions
and relations between employers and unionized employees.
o Local level: zoning boards and planning commissions control land use and development, and there are school boards and
• Tort is a wrongful act that causes injury to another person's body, property or reputation. This area of law comes within provincial
• Criminal law focuses its attention on punishing and rehabilitating wrongdoers.
• Tort law focuses on compensation of victims.
• There are two kinds of torts: intentional tort is a wilful act that results in injury. And unintentional tort of negligence provides
compensation when the wrongdoer should have acted more carefully even though the harm of injury was unintentional. Decisions
involving negligence can often lead to huge judgements against businesses.
• Critics believe that product liability laws have gone too far and deter product development.
• Product liability, covered under tort law, holds businesses liable for harm that results from the production, design, sale or use of
product they market. At one time the legal standard for measuring product liability was whether a producer knowingly placed a
hazardous product on the market
• Today: strict product liability. This means that without regard to fault. Thus, a company could be held liable for damages caused by
placing a defective product on the market even if the company didn't know the defect at the time of sale
• The rule of strict liability has caused serious problems for businesses. A producer may place a drug or chemical on the market that
everyone agrees is safe. Years later, a side effect or other health problem could emerge. The manufacturer will still be held
Intellectual property: patents, copyrights, and trademarks
• Patent owners have the right to sell or license the use of a patent to others. The gives inventors exclusive rights to their inventions
for 20 years from the date they file their patent application.
• Penalties can be very serious.
• Copyright: a form of intellectual property that protects a creator's rights to materials such as books, articles, photos, and cartoons
• Trademark: a brand that has been given legal protection for both the brand name and the pictorial design.
• Industrial design: a form of intellectual property that protects the owner's exclusive right to use the visible features of a finished
product that identify it.
The sale of goods
• Each of Canada's provinces has a statute called the sale of goods act. This act applies to all contracts for the sale of goods. A sale
contract is different from others in that there must be a transfer of ownership of goods in return for money consideration.
• In Ontario, BC, a contract for the sale of goods must be written. • Sale of goods act establishes the rules and requirements associated with the deal, establishing the respective right and obligations
of the parties of the contract.
• A warranty guarantees that the product sold will be acceptable for the purpose for which the buyer intends to use it.
• Express warranties are specific representations by the